When President Reagan announced that he had Alzheimer's 4 million Americans suffered from the disease. Today, that number has grown to 5.4 million, and it is projected to afflict 10 million baby boomers. Striving to increase research funding, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas) introduced the Making Investments Now for Dementia (MIND) Act, H.R. 610. The legislation has bipartisan co-sponsorship including Representatives Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) and Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), and authorizes the establishment of United States Alzheimer's Bonds, providing all Americans a way to aid in the search for a cure for this difficult and costly disease.

"Alzheimer's is one of the most burdensome diseases facing Americans today," said Dr. Burgess. "It takes an immense emotional, physical, and financial toll on those diagnosed and their families. There is no cure, yet research funding is not equivalent to other comparable illnesses. Providing additional avenues of funding that will help bring research funds for Alzheimer's up to par is crucial so we can work to find a cure for this disease."

Alzheimer's is a very expensive disease costing the United States $172 billion annually, and as more Americans are diagnosed, these costs will only rise. For every dollar that is spent on care, less than a penny is invested in finding a cure. The MIND Act will provide an additional avenue for research funding by establishing issuances of United States Alzheimer's Bonds. The revenues generated by the sale of the bonds, much like security bonds, would fund the program and be directed to the Director of the National Institutes of Health, solely for Alzheimer's research.

The MIND Act is supported by several individuals and groups determined to find a cure for Alzheimer's, including: former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, founder of the Center for Health Transformation; Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and former director of the National Cancer Institute; the American Academy of Neurology; the Alzheimer's Foundation of America; and the Alzheimer's Association.

"The MIND Act creates an opportunity to allow all Americans to have an impact and support those personally affected by this disease, while also investing in the long term future of our country's health," Speaker Gingrich said.

"This is about saving lives and preserving human dignity," Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach said of the MIND Act.

"Neurologists are on the front lines in providing care for the more than five million Americans living with the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease and providing counsel to their families and caregivers," said Robert C. Griggs, MD, FAAN, president of the American Academy of Neurology, the world's largest association of neurologists with more than 22,500 members. "It is essential that Congress think in innovative ways, as suggested in the MIND Act, to encourage research into the prevention, treatment and cures of neurologic disorders like Alzheimer's disease."

"Alzheimer's disease is such a threat to American families that we need to find creative ways to direct as much research into the disease as possible," states Eric J. Hall, president and founding chief executive officer of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), a nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide. "Using the 'war bond' model of WW II, the MIND Act would offer all Americans the opportunity to invest in the promise of Alzheimer's disease research funding and impact the future of our aging population."

"By establishing the issuance of United States Alzheimer's Bonds, we can create an additional source of funding specifically for Alzheimer research at the National Institutes of Health. An advance in Alzheimer research has the potential both to save millions of lives and billions of dollars for the nation's public health programs," Robert Egge, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Alzheimer's Association, said of the legislation.

Letters of Support:

- Click here to view the letter from Speaker Newt Gingrich.
- Click here to view the letter from the American Academy of Neurology.
- Click here to view the letter from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
- Click here to view the letter from the Alzheimer's Association.

To view Dr. Burgess' floor statement on February 8, 2011 regarding the MIND Act click here.

The Office of Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.