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Alzheimer’s research funding questioned

April 5, 2012
by Patricia Sheehan
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The $80 million proposed earlier this year by President Obama for Alzheimer’s research is in question following discussion at a Senate hearing on the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) 2013 budget. At the same time, the NIH confirmed its commitment to funding Alzheimer’s disease research.

The hearing was held last week by the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriation’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. In discussing the $80 million increase in funding for Alzheimer’s research Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the subcommittee, expressed reservations.

“I’m a strong supporter of Alzheimer’s research, but this $80 million isn’t happening,” Harkin said. “NIH has the flexibility to direct a larger share of its funding to Alzheimer’s research within its own budget assuming two things: one, there are enough scientific opportunities to warrant an increase, and secondly that researchers submit enough high-quality applications.”

Harkin did express support for funding from sources other than the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Using funding from this reserve would be inappropriate because Alzheimer's research has not yet resulted in any proven preventive measures, Harkin said.

Click here to view a webcast of the hearing.

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