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Bill Gates announces $50 million investment to fight Alzheimer’s Disease

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Why I’m Dig­ging Deep Into Alzheimer’s (Bill Gates):

In every part of the world, peo­ple are liv­ing longer than they used to. Thanks to sci­en­tif­ic advance­ments, few­er peo­ple die young from heart dis­ease, can­cer, and infec­tious dis­eases. It’s no longer unusu­al for a per­son to live well into their 80s and beyond. My dad will cel­e­brate his 92nd birth­day in a cou­ple weeks, a mile­stone that was prac­ti­cal­ly unimag­in­able when he was born.

This fact—that peo­ple are liv­ing longer than ever before—should always be a won­der­ful thing. But what hap­pens when it’s not?…I first became inter­est­ed in Alzheimer’s because of its costs—both emo­tion­al and economic—to fam­i­lies and health­care sys­tems. The finan­cial bur­den of the dis­ease is much eas­i­er to quan­ti­fy. A per­son with Alzheimer’s or anoth­er form of demen­tia spends five times more every year out-of-pock­et on health­care than a senior with­out a neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tion. Unlike those with many chron­ic dis­eases, peo­ple with Alzheimer’s incur long-term care costs as well as direct med­ical expens­es. If you get the dis­ease in your 60s or 70s, you might require expen­sive care for decades…

There are plen­ty of rea­sons to be opti­mistic about our chances: our under­stand­ing of the brain and the dis­ease is advanc­ing a great deal. We’re already mak­ing progress—but we need to do more.

I want to sup­port the bril­liant minds doing this work. As a first step, I’ve invest­ed $50 mil­lion in the Demen­tia Dis­cov­ery Fund—a pri­vate fund work­ing to diver­si­fy the clin­i­cal pipeline and iden­ti­fy new tar­gets for treat­ment. Most of the major phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies con­tin­ue to pur­sue the amy­loid and tau path­ways. DDF com­ple­ments their work by sup­port­ing star­tups as they explore less main­stream approach­es to treat­ing demen­tia.” Read full arti­cle over at Bill Gates’ blog.

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