On February 2, H.R.610, Making Investments Now for Dementia Act of 2011 was introduced by U.S. Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX). This measure proposes to authorize the issuance of United States bonds to fund Alzheimer's research. H.R. 610 has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Health.
On May 13, Representative Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) introduced H.R. 1897, the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2011. The bill would require the Director of NIH to: (1) coordinate all NIH research activities including the development of a strategic plan for Alzheimer’s disease research; (2) report annually to the Secretary, the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services, and the appropriate Committees of jurisdiction in Congress on the strategic research plan and the budget estimates for funding the research in the plan; and (3) submit to the Office of Management and Budget, and the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, as part of the annual budget process, a report including the budget estimates of the activities in the strategic plan, a request for appropriations to fund each research activity identified in the strategic plan, a justification explaining why an appropriation request was not included for any activity in the plan, and an analysis of progress toward accelerating breakthroughs in treatments that would prevent, cure, or slow the progression of the disease and reduce the spending on federally funded programs and families and identifies any remaining hurdles to accelerating such breakthroughs or reducing such financial burden. The bill would also require the Directors of all the NIH Institutes and Centers to fund public private partnerships to develop treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s through innovative approaches to research. H.R. 1897 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
On May 10, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) introduced a resolution, S.Res. 176, with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) urging the United States Postal Service to issue a semipostal stamp to help raise money for Alzheimer's research. On July 14, Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced companion bill, H.Res.351, in the House of Representatives. Proceeds from the sales of the Alzheimer's stamp would help fund Alzheimer's research at the National Institutes of Health.
Congressional Briefings and Hearings:
On July 27, Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Cathy McMorris Rodgers ( Co-chairs of the Neuroscience Caucus), Representatives Edward Markey and Chris Smith (Co-chairs of the Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force) hosted a House briefing on the Neuroscience Blueprint: NIH Efforts to Integrate and Advance Neuroscience Research, with speakers Dr. Story Landis, Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Dr. Richard Hodes, Director of the National Institute on Aging.
On June 23, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights (Representative Chris Smith [R-NJ], Chairman) held a hearing on the International Efforts on Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Hodes testified on behalf of NIH.
On June 22, Dr. Richard Hodes briefed House and Senate congressional staff on Alzheimer’s disease imaging research at Hill meetings sponsored by the Alliance for Aging Research, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research, and the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.
Other National Briefings:
On July 21, Dr. Hodes presented at a Summit on Population and Demographics hosted by former Vice President Al Gore in New York.
Tamara Jones, Ph.D.
National Institute on Aging