Thursday, April 27, 2006

First Major Survey of Baby Boomer Attitudes on Alzheimer's Shows Fear About Their Own Future and Frustration Over Pace of New Drug Approvals (PDF)
[27 April 2006 - ACT-AD (Accelerate Cure/Treatments for Alzheimer's Disease) Coalition] Historic ACT-AD Coalition calls for recognition of Alzheimer's as an urgent national health crisis, activation of Baby Boomers, and acceleration of therapy approvals -- As the first Baby Boomers turn 60 this year, they are beginning to confront the consequences of growing older. A new survey shows the majority of Boomers are anxious about how Alzheimer's disease (AD) will affect their health and quality of life. At the same time, Boomers are frustrated that the government and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not adequately address adequately this looming public health crisis. The findings from the first major survey of over 1,000 American Baby Boomers about Alzheimer's disease were announced today by a newly formed coalition of 21 leading advocacy groups known as ACT-AD (Accelerate Cure/Treatments for Alzheimer's Disease). "These survey findings underscore the fact that when Baby Boomers are asked to address the potential of Alzheimer's in their future, they are clearly not ready emotionally, psychologically or financially," said Daniel Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research and chair of the ACT-AD Coalition. ... In summary, survey results reveal that when provided with basic information on Alzheimer's disease, the vast majority of Baby Boomers are extremely concerned about the potential impact on their health, quality of life and finances as well as on the healthcare system. ... Key Findings include:

  • Personal Preparedness for Alzheimer's -- 90 to 95 percent of
    respondents said that they would either be unprepared or would find
    life "not worth living" if they were forced to face limitations common
    to the disease by the time they were 70. These limitations included
    basic abilities (not being able to dress or toilet themselves), social
    interactions (not being able to recognize family members) and mental
    abilities (not being able to remember who or where they are).
  • Cost of Alzheimer's -- 80 percent of respondents said that their
    current savings would not be sufficient to cover the cost of care if
    they were diagnosed and 81 percent said the same thing about their
    families' savings. 83 percent said they are also worried that the
    healthcare system is under-prepared to cover the demands of the coming
    Alzheimer's crisis.
  • Treatment Options -- Only 8 percent of respondents feel that current
    treatments are adequate. In fact, most (80 percent) are willing to
    take experimental treatments that have the potential for stopping the
    disease and preserving their quality of life, even if significant
    health risk was involved. Respondents put the highest priority on
    drugs that stop the disease/loss of mental abilities (84 percent) or
    that reverse the disease/loss of mental abilities (82 percent), even
    though current drugs do none of these things. 90 percent of
    respondents felt that drugs that have this potential should be given
    the same priority review and fast track status that the FDA gives to
    drugs for other life-threatening diseases as cancer and HIV/AIDS.
  • Satisfaction with Government/FDA -- When provided with an overview of
    the FDA's current review policy for Alzheimer's drugs, 82 percent of
    respondents remained unsure about what the government is doing to
    prioritize Alzheimer's, but most (84 percent) feel that more should be
    done and over 75 percent feel that Alzheimer's should be made a top
    priority. 89 percent feel that promising Alzheimer's drugs deserve
    the same priority status and fast track review that the FDA uses for
    drugs for other serious diseases. ...


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