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In this Nov. 22, 2019, photo, Charles Flagg, who is stricken with Alzheimer's disease, makes a peanut butter sandwich for lunch at his family home in Jamestown, R.I. He is participating in a study on the drug Aducanumab. New results were released on the experimental medicine whose maker claims it can slow the decline of Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia.
In this Nov. 22, 2019, photo, Charles Flagg, who is stricken with Alzheimer's disease, makes a peanut butter sandwich for lunch at his family home in Jamestown, R.I. He is participating in a study on the drug Aducanumab. New results were released on the experimental medicine whose maker claims it can slow the decline of Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Currently in the United States, more than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, including 110,000 of whom are living here in Maryland. The impact does not stop there as more than 16 million Americans provide care for their loved ones with the disease with 294,000 caregivers in Maryland helping their loved ones every day. Additionally, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will cost a total of $290 billion with a $195 billion direct cost to Medicare and Medicaid. That is why I am joining the Alzheimer’s Association in asking Congress to include an additional $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research at the National Institutes of Health in the government’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

As someone who is caring for a grandparent with dementia, I personally understand the direct impact it has on Maryland families. Today, Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death without a means to prevent, cure, or even slow its progression. This makes the daily efforts of so many people that much more important. The number of individuals aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is projected to grow from approximately 5.6 million to 13.8 million by the year 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. However, an increase in research funding to develop a potential medical breakthrough to prevent, slow, or cure the disease can alter this projection. Every 65 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease — which is why Congress must remain committed to action on this devastating disease.

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Please join me in asking the office of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, and any candidates running in the 7th Congressional District, to support an additional $350 million increase in Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding at the NIH. Together we can end Alzheimer’s.

Daniel Najafali, Sparks

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

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