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AARP Invests $60 Million in Dementia Research

Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's about every 65 seconds, according to the Alzheimer's Association. (Jasmin Awad/Twenty20)
Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's about every 65 seconds, according to the Alzheimer's Association. (Jasmin Awad/Twenty20)
July 3, 2018

PHOENIX – AARP is investing $60 million in dementia and Alzheimer's disease research. Millions of Americans suffer from some form of dementia, and as the Baby Boomer generation ages, the number of cases nationwide is expected to grow.

The investment is being made to honor AARP's 60th anniversary. And AARP Arizona State Director Dana Kennedy says the new "Disrupt Dementia" campaign comes at a critical time for this type of research.

"The last dementia drug to come to market brings only temporary relief of disease symptoms, and it was approved more than a decade ago," she says.

According to Kennedy, more than 400 clinical trials have failed since that last drug was approved.

AARP's investment will go toward the Dementia Discovery Fund, which supports new drug projects. The fund encourages new treatment techniques and applies insights from other areas of medicine, such as oncology and immunology.

AARP says it hopes the research will lead to better treatments - and eventually, a cure for dementia.

The Alzheimer's Association says about 140,000 people in Arizona now have Alzheimer's disease. Kennedy says that number only tells half the story.

"A lot of that care really falls onto family caregivers to kind of help navigate how to care for the person," she adds.

AARP says more than 16 million Americans are now caring for a family member or loved one with dementia.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - AZ