Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Letter: Pessimistic about Alzheimer's news

A seminar, presented by Dawn Hagen from the

A seminar, presented by Dawn Hagen from the Long Island chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, is scheduled for Monday, 2 p.m. at the Long Beach Public Library. Credit: AP / Charles Dharapak

Newsday's editorial "Alzheimer's researchers and their hopeful news" [March 23] is incredibly naïve.

The editorial reports on recent studies showing promising results on mice or with small human populations that could lead to a future with fewer people living with and dying from Alzheimer's. I, too, wish for that future.

However, the sad reality is that promising results with mice or even with small human populations have been reported many times before without being successfully duplicated in larger clinical trials. Let's wait to see if positive results can be duplicated with at least 1,000 participants before getting too excited about the latest Alzheimer's treatment being tested.

The editorial also cited the formation of a new $100-million global fund for Alzheimer's research as a positive sign. That may sound like a serious investment to help end Alzheimer's, but when compared with President Barack Obama's most recent budget request for more than $8 billion for combined domestic and global HIV research, $100 million is the proverbial drop in the bucket.

The National Institutes of Health each year allocates six times more money for research on HIV/AIDS, a disease that can already be prevented and treated, than it does for Alzheimer's, which has no means of prevention or effective treatment.

An estimated 700,000 Americans will die from Alzheimer's this year, compared with about 15,000 dying from HIV/AIDS. Newsday should be calling upon our federal government to reorder its funding priorities.

Allan S. Vann, Commack

Editor's note: The writer is a caregiver to his wife, who has Alzheimer's disease, and writes frequently on the topic.