WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) helped notch a major victory in the effort to combat Alzheimer’s disease and promote brain health, with the signing of the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act this week.  The BOLD Act authorizes $100 million over five years to develop a public health approach that will improve prevention, treatment, and care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Senator Reed cosponsored the BOLD Act, which was authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Capito Moore (R-WV), and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), and helped pass it through the full U.S. Senate on December 18.  It was signed into law by President Trump on New Year’s Eve.

“We need a national commitment to addressing the social, medical, and economic challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. This legislation is a long overdue step in the right direction,”  said Senator Reed.  “This legislation is a smart investment that will help translate research into practice, and lead to more effective interventions and treatments.  I’m proud to join my colleagues in helping to get it passed and signed into law.”

Approximately 5.5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s and the disease costs the United States more than $277 billion per year, including $186 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.  Without further action, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to nearly triple to as many as 14 million by 2050, costing the nation more than $1.1 trillion per year.

The new law applies a public health approach to reduce risk, detect early symptoms, advance care, improve data, and ultimately change the trajectory of the disease.  It would authorize $20 million annually over the next five years to establish within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

–          Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions as well as educating the public on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and brain health.  These centers will implement the CDC’s Healthy Aging Public Health Road Map, and will take key steps to support health and social services professionals as well as families and communities.

–          Cooperative Agreements with the CDC that will be awarded to State Health Departments to help them meet local needs in promoting brain health, reducing risk of cognitive decline, improving care for those with Alzheimer’s disease, and other key public health activities.

–          Data Grants to improve the analysis and timely reporting of data on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities at the state and national levels.

In September, Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, helped pass an $854 billion Appropriations spending package that included a $425 million increase for research to address health issues faced by the elderly community such as Alzheimer’s disease.