Report urges Congress to increase medical research

(Washington, DC) The Task Force for Aging Research Funding today released its annual report urging Congress to act on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget put forth by the Bush Administration. The President's budget calls for "a disappointing 1.8 percent increase an amount that represents a serious reversal of fortune for medical research critical to the health and well-being of aging Americans," according to the report. This budget proposal comes just one year after the historic bipartisan effort to double the budget of the NIH.

The Task Force report, endorsed by more than 57 national not-for-profit research and patient-support organizations, specifically urges Congress to increase the NIH budget by 10 percent, which would bring the total NIH budget to $30 billion in fiscal year 2004. According to the endorsing organizations, this is a small price to pay when weighed against the enormous physical, emotional and fiscal costs of aging-related diseases:

  • Alzheimer's costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion a year and the number of people suffering from Alzheimer's is projected to triple to 14 million
  • 17 million Americans live with the complications and life-shortening effects of diabetes, costing $132 billion annually
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates some 70 million Americans are afflicted with arthritis and joint diseases, costing as much as $125 billion annually

"Our nation is on the threshold of major medical advances that could help alleviate the pain and suffering that accompanies aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart disease," said Daniel Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research, which organized the Task Force. "We are jeopardizing the quality of life for aging Americans by seriously under-funding research and training programs following five years of unprecedented growth," added Perry.

The Task Force report wa

Contact: Michelle A. Lambert
Alliance for Aging Research

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