Pols call for statewide Alzheimer's effort

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Rep. Steve Israel and state Assemb. Charles Lavine are calling on New York State to become the center of Alzheimer's research by creating a bonding initiative to fund research, generate jobs and give hope to the 5.2 million Americans living with the disease.

"Alzheimer's is the most expensive malady in the United States, but federal investments in researching the disease are at an all-time low," Israel (D-Huntington) said Friday at Cold Spring Harbor Lab. He said he also supports federal legislation to fund the research.

"With the cost of Alzheimer's to our country expected to skyrocket, researching the disease is not just a matter of compassion for a cure; it is a public policy imperative," he said.

Lavine (D-Glen Cove) said, "Long Island and New York are home to some of the most significant research institutions, health centers and universities in the country . . . [But] without a dedicated funding stream to continue the flow of research dollars, we will be standing by while more than 5 million people suffer from this devastating disease."

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Hiro Furukawa, associate professor at Cold Spring Harbor Lab, said the research is important. "CSHL has a robust research program for studying the brain," he said. "I know that our work will make a difference in combating diseases like Alzheimer's."

Caring for people with Alzheimer's now costs the nation $203 billion a year and is projected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2050, the lawmakers said. Today's investments in Alzheimer's research could save millions of lives and billions of dollars for the nation's public health programs, they said, as well as create jobs.

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