Bennet Pushes Bill to Create National Alzheimer's Project - Would Urge Smarter Use of Funds, Streamline Efforts to Fight Disease

75,000 Coloradans Suffer From Alzheimer's Disease But Uncoordinated Federal Programs Hold Back Researchers from Search for Treatments and a Cure

Legislation Would Bring Together All Federally Supported Programs to Study and Treat Disease Under One Roof for Better Evaluation and Administration

Washington, DC - With over 75,000 Coloradans currently suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today announced his push to streamline research efforts on the disease. Several federal programs perform research on the disease to try to find a cure or better treatments, but the process is hampered by a lack of coordination and communication.

In an effort to help research efforts and make better use of taxpayer dollars, Bennet is cosponsoring the National Alzheimer's Project Act. The legislation would create a national plan to require the necessary coordination and sharing of information across the many governmental and nongovernmental entities working on preventing, curing and caring for patients with the disease. The bill would save taxpayer dollars by streamlining the disparate federally funded programs.

"Alzheimer's takes a tremendous emotional and financial toll on over 75,000 Coloradans and their families. Yet our nation's health care system is not set up to appropriately coordinate and share the research we're doing to prevent, cure and care for our patients," Bennet said. "This bill will streamline the country's research efforts so that we can better find ways to combat this disease while also making much better use of our taxpayer dollars."

The proposal would create an Office of the National Alzheimer's Project within the White House, and would coordinate all research, clinical care and service toward the prevention, care, and cure of Alzheimer's. This Office would produce a national strategic plan to help assure that the millions of Americans who now have Alzheimer's and the millions of potentially at-risk Americans would have a coordinated effort to target the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

Almost half of all Americans who reach age 85 and beyond will be afflicted with Alzheimer's. The Office of the National Alzheimer's Project's director would be appointed to the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Science and Technology and would have input in all realms relating to this devastating disease. The Office would also focus on groups at higher risk for Alzheimer's, and groups which are underserved by Alzheimer's programs.

The Office of the National Alzheimer's Project Act has received the Alzheimer's Association's full support. Bennet, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, is an original cosponsor of the legislation, which was introduced by Senators Martinez and Bayh. Senators Collins, Feingold, and Tester also joined Bennet in co-sponsorship.