Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher complained that the Obama administration has requested $6 billion to fight the Ebola virus yet Alzheimer’s Disease, which is already cutting a deadly swath across the country, is seriously underfunded. Dr. Satcher, founder of AfricanAmericansAgainstAlzheimer’s Network, said so far there have been four cases and one death from Ebola in the U.S., but an estimated 500,000 Americans will die this year because of Alzheimer’s.
Currently, 5.1 million Americans, including 1 million African Americans, suffer from Alzheimer’s, but that number is expected to reach as many as 16 million by mid-century, Dr. Satcher wrote in a Nov. 14 article published in The Hill, titled “Alzheimer’s is [a] greater public health crisis than Ebola.” By 2030, the number of blacks entering the age of risk for dementia will reach 6.9 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s report “African Americans and Alzheimer’s Disease: The Silent Epidemic.”
“If you happen to be more frightened by Ebola than by Alzheimer’s consider this: At the age of 65, 1 in 9 Americans has Alzheimer’s. At the age of 85 that number jumps to 1 in 3,” Satcher wrote. “While there is virtually no chance of contracting Ebola in the U.S. right now, the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s or needing to care for someone with Alzheimer’s is staggering.” Because the U.S. does not have effective treatments, Alzheimer’s will cost the country $214 billion this year.
Dr. Satcher said the $6 billion the administration requested to fight the Ebola Virus is more than the federal government has spent on Alzheimer’s research over the last decade. He added that Ebola is deadly but so is Alzheimer’s and it’s time to bring the disease to the front of the agenda.