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Maria Shriver asks: Why is Alzheimer's Disease so underfunded? Echoing her late uncle, John F. Kennedy, she calls for a "moon s

Posted Oct 18 2010 12:00am
Maria Shriver has a vision that can truly be called John Kennedy-eseque: She wants to see a cure for Alzheimer's Disease (AD). 

She has been all over the news in the last couple of days, talking about malady  that took the life of her father, R. Sargent Shriver, and also the lives of many others--and many more in the decades ahead, as we Baby Boomers age.  

Tonight Shriver was a guest of Diane Sawyer on "ABC World News, " alongside Dr. Richard Besser, who has distinguished himself with his serious and determined coverage of medical issues--and his skepticism of government rationing schemes.   Shriver made the point that AD receives just a fraction of the funding that goes to cancer and heart disease--see screen grab above.  She raises a good point: Why is AD so under-funded?   
When Sawyer asked about AD funding, here's the way Shriver answered
It's six billion dollars to cancer, four billion to cancer, five hundred million for Alzheimer's.  I think we're sitting at s is an incredibly exciting point in our history.  We can launch an expedition on the brain, much like President Kennedy launched an expedition to the moon.  And we can galvanize all our best researchers and scientists, to uncover the secrets of the brain, to Huntington's, to Parkinson's . . . We've never done that as a nation.  We've  got to find a cure to this disease, otherwise it will bankrupt every family in this country, and it will bankrupt as a nation.

Exactly.  So why aren't we doing more?  A cure--or even better treatment--would save money, for us as individuals, and for us as a nation.   And AD progress could be the key to solving the entitlement crisis, if it were linked to raising the retirement age, as argued here at SMS back in June.  


We can only admire Shriver for her determination and vision, but we can also note that such an effort is obviously good politics.   Good health is at the basis of all ideologies and belief systems.  From left to right, from blue to red, from socialist to tea partier, everyone wants to be healthy.  And so the voters, across the ideological spectrum, stand ready to reward the politicians who help them find a better life and a dignified old age.  
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