Tuesday, March 27, 2007

GUEST HOST Mona Johnson

Last November, I went to a forum on health research sponsored by
Research!America. Elias Zerhouni, Director of the U.S. National
Institutes of Health (NIH), gave the keynote address. You can see a
presentation similar to the one he gave at

The basic points I got from his presentation were:

• U.S. government funding available for NIH and biomedical
research is stagnant or decreasing
• Given the current budget constraints, it’s unrealistic to think
government can fund in-depth research into multiple diseases, including
• The approach that NIH will take is to shift from focusing on
research related to specific diseases to emphasizing research on
fundamental disease mechanisms (inflammation, protein aggregation,
apoptosis, immune response, signaling) that may be common to multiple

It seems logical that this means less funding for Alzheimer’s and
dementia research.

Last month, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a piece about cutbacks
at the University Memory and Aging Center because a government grant
wasn’t renewed. I don’t know the whole story behind these cuts, but I
suspect we’ll see more of these cuts in the next few years.

If we want basic research specific to Alzheimer’s and dementia to
continue, we’ll need to fund much of it through private efforts like The
Unforgettable Fund. Thanks to Patty and her family for pioneering these


  1. I'll be addressing this in a post later in the week (after I do some catching up), as I promised Patty. In the meantime, I wonder, why do we, as citizens, assume that we cannot agitate to redirect spending at the government level? It is, after all, our money they're appropriating.

  2. It's our moral imperative to demand it.

    And to demand our newspapers quit wasting ink on Anna Nicole Smith when they have the responsibility of explaining to US, their readership, the complex issues of the day.

    The TV networks need to quit shoveling idiotic nonsense at US, their viewers, day after day, if they expect anyone to even be able to RECOGNIZE the true issues that will effect our lives.

    We are NOT idiots. We are NOT incapable of grasping the danger that lies ahead for every one of us. We are NOT incapable of doing something about it. It is NOT acceptable for any of us to do less than all that is required to change the course of human suffering.

    Did we really think the lives of our elders could get hammered this way and NOTHING in our lives would have to change?

    For those of us who have been down the Alzheimer's path with a loved one, or even a hated one for that matter, know as few others can what dire times these are. But we can CHANGE that. All it takes is a single person - YOU - standing up and saying "Enough! I have had ENOUGH"

    They would have us believe a single person can't change anything when in fact it's only been a single person who has ever changed ANYTHING.

    Think. Act. Change the world.