From an article in Mail Online from the UK, we learn that millions of Alzheimer’s sufferers may be denied treatment in the near future.
“The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology says that unless urgent action is taken a whole generation could be left without the drugs needed to improve their lives and give them, and their families, hope for the future.”
Big Drug companies tend to do as much as 80% of funding for reasearch and that funding tends to focus more on lucrative diseases like cancer. Although Cancer costs their economy half the amount of brain disease–it receives twice the funding from European governments.
Besides a stigma associated with psychiatric disease, there seems to be the same disdain for other brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Even the public does not donate to these organizations in the same way it donates to illnesses such as Cancer or Heart Disease.
Some wonder if the contrast may also have to do with the fact that brain research is aimed more at improving quality of life rather than extending it. Disease such as Alzheimer’s has no cure, but much research needs to be done to find better medications to control symptms. On the other hand, funding and research for Cancer can lead directly to a cure and longevity of life. When results such as this are shown, funding increases.
“GlaxoSmithKline and Astra Zeneca have both pulled out of brain research in the UK. Merck has closed its neuroscience plant in the south of Scotland and Pfizer is closing its research and development operation in Sandwich, Kent, ” says the Daily Mail.
Professor David Nutt, of Imperial College London, said: “It is dark days for brain science. What we must not forget is that if you stop this research you will have a dead space for 20 or 30 years and that would be really foolhardy.”
A a few solutions that have been been suggested range from the idea to rename some of the brain disorders to remove any stigma attached, to encouraging the pharmaceutical companies to share brain research with university experts.
Many from the US and UK are striving for a greater public awareness of Alzheimer’s; Symptoms and vulerabilities of the population in general. For generations it was thought that Alzheimer’s was nothing more than an old person’s disease and an inevitable part of aging. Requests for funding fell mostly on deaf ears since most did not see the need.
That sort of thinking does appear to be changing—slowly. Still– further action is needed to build on this momentum and ensure the amount spent on dementia and Alzheimer’s matches that spent on other diseases.
At the Alzheimer’s Association in the US the online donation form is fast, easy and secure. You can make a general donation, a tribute/memorial donation to honor someone, or a monthly gift.