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Plan to battle Alzheimer’s is tremendous step

We’ve all watched loved ones fade away under the weight of Alzheimer’s. The loss of memory, sense of self, and control over bodily functions turns family members into strangers. For decades, we have been tormented by this cruel disease with no hope in sight — but that changed this week.

On May 15, the Obama Administration released the first-ever national plan to fight Alzheimer’s disease with an unprecedented commitment to stop the disease by 2025.

The plan takes a two-pronged approach to prevent and effectively treat the disease, combining a focus on investing in future treatments with supports for families suffering under the weight of Alzheimer’s today.

I’m especially pleased with the announcement of a large prevention study, which recognizes the need to test potential therapies in pre-symptomatic populations — a vital approach if we actually want to prevent this disease.

This historic plan marks the first step in the sprint to address our generation’s defining health challenge — but the race doesn’t end now. It is not a plan to be celebrated and then tossed aside.

The way our country executes this plan will determine the course of our nation for years to come.

There is much work to be done in the coming months. Congress must increase the resources devoted to Alzheimer’s research. Scientists need to unite behind this goal and redouble their efforts to stop this disease.

And private industry should partner with the public sector to advance innovative breakthroughs.

I applaud President Obama and HHS Secretary Sebelius for this important step forward — now Congress must step up and provide the resources, support, and accountability necessary to achieve the plan’s bold goals and to stop Alzheimer’s by 2025.

Lauren Wade