“Alzheimer’s is the most under-recognized threat.” -Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Finally, a cause that both sides of the aisle can agree upon. Last month, lawmakers passed, and President Trump signed into law, the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act.
The measure aims to build a public health model to combat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Importantly, it authorizes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to spend up to $100 million over five years to improve public education, and to support health and social services’ dementia efforts. In addition, the BOLD Act will fund the collection and dissemination of cognitive decline data.
Here’s the gist of this broad measure: The funding will help state and local governments, Indian tribes and the federal government to collaborate to promote dementia education and caregiver support.
Keep reading for highlights of the BOLD Act. . .
- According to AARP1, the infusion of federal dollars will establish so-called centers of excellence around the country dedicated to finding the best strategies to deal with Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline and overall brain health.
- It will also help in agencies’ efforts to promote early detection and diagnosis. This in turn may reduce risk and prevent avoidable hospitalizations.
- With this funding, the CDC will work with state health departments to help promote brain health, reduce the risk of cognitive decline and possibly improve the care of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s. It is the most expensive disease in America, because patients are often completely unable to care for themselves in any way, for years on end. Costs now exceed 250 billion dollars per year, and the burden is constantly growing larger.2
Promoting Brain Health
Sarah Lock, AARP senior vice president of policy and brain health, explained the importance of the new law:1 “This legislation embeds prevention and promoting brain health as opposed to only fighting the disease once you get it,” Lock said.
I don’t have a great deal of confidence that BOLD will achieve its worthy mission. For six years here at Brain Health Breakthroughs we’ve identified healthy lifestyle choices that help prevent memory loss and dementia. We cull the latest scientific journals and report on pertinent brain health findings that can make a real difference.
The way to prevent, slow down or even reverse dementia is well established at this point. While, yes, there is a genetic component in some patients, for most people the problem is lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits, lack of restorative sleep, an overload of prescription drugs, lack of social interaction, lack of mental exercise (reading, playing music, learning a new language, etc.) and all the other causes we write about here.
A growing number of enlightened doctors are adopting our approach, but most doctors have not. I suspect the new money and attention will be thrown at the same old ineffective nostrums.
If the administrators of the BOLD money really want to look for “centers of excellence” in dementia treatment, our publications have pointed toward a couple of dozen they can check out.