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Wicker Introduces Bill to Help Combat Alzheimer’s Disease

Wicker Introduces Bill to Help Combat Alzheimer’s Disease

Legislation Would Award Prizes for Breakthroughs in Research, Detection, and Cures

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today unveiled his legislation to create prize-based incentives to encourage more public-private collaboration in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia. The “Ensuring Useful Research Expenditures is Key for Alzheimer’s (EUREKA) Act” would not replace other funding and research initiatives for Alzheimer’s but add another route for breakthroughs. The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Angus King, I-Maine, and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

“America has always been the home of groundbreaking innovation,” Wicker said. “We compete to create, build, and make a difference in people’s lives. The ‘EUREKA Act’ seeks to channel this pioneering spirit through competition to help us better understand, detect, and ultimately cure Alzheimer’s disease. Given today’s budget constraints, it is important to find a way to supplement existing funds to further this critical research.”

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has set a goal of curing Alzheimer’s by 2025. Today, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America and has a 100 percent fatality rate. According to a report released earlier this year, caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is estimated to cost the United States $226 billion in 2015, with one in five Medicare dollars spent on an Alzheimer’s victim. Unless a cure is found, treatment costs are expected to grow to an estimated $1.1 trillion by 2050.  In Mississippi, 12 percent of senior citizens have Alzheimer’s. The number of victims is expected to rise 27.5 percent by 2025, increasing from 51,000 to 65,000.

The EUREKA Act is an important step in the right direction. It will spark smart public-private partnerships and leverage America’s best minds toward ending this cruel disease once and for all.

We can make sure it passes and make real progress toward a cure – but only if you speak out today.

Click here to add your name and tell the Senate to pass the EUREKA Act and help us find a cure faster!

Wicker’s legislation is supported by the XPRIZE Foundation, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s Association, Eli Lilly and Company, BrightFocus Foundation, and the MIND Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“This legislation, which will reward researchers who meet certain milestones in Alzheimer’s disease drug development with cash prizes, will help spur innovation and accelerate discovery of a cure or disease modifying treatment,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “We, as a nation, still must work to make Alzheimer’s disease research a national priority and make it’s funding on par with other major disease states.”

“We applaud Senator Wicker for advancing an innovative approach to preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025,” said George Vradenburg, Founder and Chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “The EUREKA Act would spark smart public-private partnerships to leverage America’s best minds with the great work at NIH in a fiscally responsible manner. We look forward to working with Senator Wicker to advance the EUREKA Act into law.”

“An advance in Alzheimer’s research has the potential both to save millions of lives and billions of dollars for the nation’s public health programs,” said Robert Egge, Executive Vice President of Alzheimer’s Association. “With the cooperation of the medical and research communities, we are at a tipping point. We have the ideas, the technology and the will, but we need a focused commitment from the federal government, including robust support for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health.”

“This is a time of great and deserved hope in dementia as Congress and the National Institutes of Health have begun to address chronic underfunding of research,” said Ian Kremer, Executive Director of Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease. “The Act’s focus on pay for success highlights that we need not only more research but better research, research that changes the lives of people living with dementia today and that reduces or eliminates the risk of people having to live with dementia in the future.”

roger wicker log

“Senator Wicker has been a champion for Alzheimer’s research and related public health policy,” said Patty Dunn, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Mississippi Chapter. “We applaud his commitment to support a robust National Alzheimer’s Plan by cosponsoring the successful Alzheimer’s Accountability Act and encouraging increased research funding for the National Institutes of Health. Our advocates work closely with his office and appreciate Senator Wicker’s introduction of the innovative EUREKA Act and its goal of advancing research breakthroughs for Alzheimer’s disease.”

The EUREKA Act would authorize the Director of the NIH to work with other federal agencies to establish prize challenges informed by the research milestones contained in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. Challenges could focus in a number of areas including:

Identification and validation of Alzheimer’s biomarkers;
Development of non-invasive and cost-effective early detection and diagnostic tools;
Repurposing of existing drugs to address Alzheimer’s disease; and
Development of new tools and approaches to care for persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

An advisory council that would include experts in organizing and managing such challenges as well as patient advocates and industry representatives will be constituted to determine the competitions, while a separate judging panel will evaluate submissions and make recommendations for awards to the Director of NIH.

Prize challenges enable government sponsors to pay only when a prize team achieves specified goals or milestones. Although funds will be authorized and reserved for awards, prizes will only be granted when teams achieve clearly defined objectives, making the EUREKA Act a cost-effective tool to support the pursuit of the 2025 goal. Additionally, EUREKA would permit the receipt of donations from the private sector and from individuals to fund the competition and build the award fund.

We can make sure it passes and make real progress toward a cure – but only if you speak out today.

Click here to add your name and tell the Senate to pass the EUREKA Act and help us find a cure faster!

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University of Minnesota School of Nursing and The Lutheran Home Association Partner on Federal Grant

University of Minnesota School of Nursing and

The Lutheran Home Association Partner

on Federal Grant

The University of Minnesota School of Nursing has been awarded a $1.2 million dollar grant in partnership with The Lutheran Home Association of Belle Plaine, Minnesota through the Federal Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to study the potential impact that health monitoring technology has on persons with Alzheimer’s/dementia and their family caregivers.

The goal of this 5-year research demonstration project is to measure the effectiveness of advanced technology that utilizes monitors and sensors to provide remote health monitoring around the clock to help persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related conditions maintain independence and optimum health.  The remote monitoring system uses monitors and sensors to track daily activity and alert caregivers if an incident has potentially occurred, such as a fall, wandering, or missed medication.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures 2014, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia conditions.  In 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided more than 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia conditions valued at $216 billion.

Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, U of M School of Nursing is a national leader in dementia caregiver support interventions, is leading this research study.  “We anticipate that this innovative health monitoring intervention, which adopts a proactive approach to chronic disease care, will result in a cost-effective approach that offers robust support for family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias at home,” Joseph Gaugler, PhD, U of M.

The Lutheran Home Association has been implementing health monitoring technology across multiple settings, including private homes, for the past 6 years and has launched technology enabled care models which assist older adults to live independently in their homes.  The Lutheran Home Association offers comprehensive experience in program development and design, advanced health technology implementation, rural health services, rural training development and outreach, program administration, and innovative service delivery strategies.

The Lutheran Home Association will provide the technology assessment, technology installation, training, and support for family caregivers.  “By partnering with the University of Minnesota in this study, The Lutheran Home Association continues its’ national movement as an organization that is leading innovation through the implementation of new technologies that may positively and significantly impact the care giving sector.  We look forward to the outcomes of this study and how the results may positively impact Alzheimer’s/dementia support strategies and the dementia care model,” Michael Klatt, President and CEO, The Lutheran Home Association.

Dr. Gaugler is an Associate Professor and McKnight Presidential Fellow in the School of Nursing and the Center on Aging.  His research focuses on Alzheimer’s disease and long-term care as well as supporting family caregivers of older persons with chronic diseases.  He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Psychological Association and is Editor of the Journal of Applied Gerontology.

The University of Minnesota School of Nursing ranks 15th nationally, in funding from the National Institutes of Health, among schools of nursing across the country. It is the oldest continuously-operated, university-based school of nursing. The School of Nursing is one of six schools and colleges in the Academic Health Center, one of the most comprehensive facilities for health professionals in the nation, fostering interdisciplinary study, research, and education.

About The Lutheran Home Association
The Lutheran Home Association offers a wide variety of healthcare, housing and spiritual outreach services with campuses in several states and congregational programs serving seniors and individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities nationwide.  Learn more at www.tlha.org, follow @TLHAword on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook.

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