On June 17, 2013 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2013 Alzheimer’s disease plan update. The initial “National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease” was released in May 2012 under the 2011 National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). President Obama signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act to support Alzheimer’s research and help individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s disease was developed by experts in Alzheimer’s disease and aging to discover techniques to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, improve care for patients, enhance public awareness, and increase support for caregivers. The 2013 update to the National Plan highlights completed goals over the past year in addition to recommendations for additional action steps.
Highlights in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease this past year include the National Institutes of Health organized the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit in May 2012 to bring together national and international experts, researchers, and advocacy groups to develop suggestions on how to best advance research. Several new Alzheimer’s research projects were funded in areas including clinical trails, genetic sequencing, and development of new cellular models for Alzheimer’s disease. These projects can be reviewed in the 2011-2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a website, www.alzheimers.gov, to spread public awareness and provide information and resources to people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. This website reached a wide audience, with more than 200,000 visits in the first ten months.
The 2013 update to the National Plan addresses the various challenges presented by Alzheimer’s disease and the update identifies actions to overcome these challenges. Specific additional actions recommended in the update include a cohesive Alzheimer’s disease training curriculum for primary care providers, assistance for families and communities affected by Alzheimer’s disease through legal services, and improvement in dementia services within state and local health networks.