Obama Promises $156 Million to Alzheimer’s

The president’s administration will increase funding for the debilitating neurodegenerative disease this year and next. But where will the money come from?

By | February 9, 2012

Mathematical Association of America" > President Obama at the 2010 White House science fair Flickr, Mathematical Association of America

President Obama at the 2010 White House science fair FLICKR, MATHEMATICAL ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Citing the rising tide of Americans with Alzheimer’s—projections suggest 10 million people will be afflicted by 2050—the Obama administration and top National Institutes of Health officials are taking action. On February 7, they announced that they will add an additional $80 million to the 2013 NIH budget for the Alzheimer’s research program.

Additionally, they plan to repurpose $50 million from this year’s NIH budget to research on the disorder. Half of that money will go towards genome and exome sequencing of people with Alzheimer’s; the other $25 million will fund peer-reviewed projects that would otherwise go unfunded. Another $26 million will go towards caregiver support, education, and infrastructure.

However, Richard Hodes, director of the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, told Nature that the 2013 dollars still have to be approved by Congress in the next budget and, if not, existing programs may need to be cut. And this year’s $50 million is likely to bump other projects, perhaps at NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute. “If there’s a finite budget anywhere, once there’s more of something, there is less of something else,” he said.

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