Assemb. Charles Lavine, D-Glen Cove, aims to introduce legislation asking New Yorkers to back a $1 billion bond to fund Alzheimer’s research. And when it comes to conducting that research, Long Island institutions should top the list, he said.
“Long Island and New York are home to some of the most significant research institutions, health centers and universities in the country,” Lavine said, in a statement. “We have the ability to utilize all of these resources to conduct research and clinical trials that could lead us to finding options for those dealing with Alzheimer’s; patients as well as their caregivers.
“Without a dedicated funding stream to continue the flow of research dollars, we will be standing by while more than 5 million people nationwide suffer from this devastating disease,” he added. “While treatments for symptoms are available, they are not a cure. We need to find better ways to treat or at least delay its development and improve the quality of life for those suffering from Alzheimer’s.”
Lavine made a pledge for the bond funding and research at a recent press conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he was joined by Rep. Steve Israel, D-Huntington. Israel is co-sponsoring the bipartisan Making Investments Now for Dementia (MIND) Act, which would authorize the Treasury to issue bonds that would aid in the funding of Alzheimer’s research. Appropriations would then be made to the National Institutes of Health for research.
More than 300,000 New Yorkers have Alzheimer’s, dementia and other related diseases, according to some estimates.
Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory focuses on how the healthy brain works and what goes wrong in brains that are sick, noted Hiro Furukawa, associate professor and researcher at the lab. And while these efforts would make a difference in combating diseases like Alzheimer’s, funding for a robust research program is vital, he said.
The sixth leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s is the only disease without a way to prevent, cure or slow its progression, said Douglas Davidson, executive director of the Long Island Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. It is the country’s most expensive condition, costing the nation $203 billion annually with projections reaching $1.2 trillion by 2050, not including the unpaid hours spent by caregivers, according to Davidson.
Taxpayer-approved bonds for Alzheimer's research in New York would help fuel jobs, additional financing collaborations and more, according to Lavine.