The United States is taking new steps to fight Alzheimer's, the incurable brain-wasting disease that affects millions of Americans.
The government is making $50 million available immediately for cutting-edge research on Alzheimer's, and will boost research funding by $80 million in the 2013 fiscal year, which begins in October.
Tuesday's announcement in Washington said an additional $26 million is being allocated to support caregivers and expand programs to educate people about Alzheimer's. The disease currently afflicts more than five million Americans, and that number is expected to double by 2050 as the number of elderly U.S. residents increases.
The head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, says the Obama administration is making the fight against Alzheimer's an urgent national priority.
Alzheimer's slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. It leaves many patients profoundly disabled by their inability to carry out simple tasks, remember recent events or recognize loved ones, and can lead to death when basic life functions deteriorate.