As with so many issues involving medical research and healthcare, San Diego County is ground zero in the battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. That’s why I was so pleased to help moderate “A Community Discussion on Alzheimer’s,” sponsored by Biocom and Biogen.
All aspects of the disease were covered, including its impact, as well as scientific research that may eventually find a cure.
It is estimated that 65,000 persons live with the disease locally, a number expected to increase to 94,000 by 2030. Another 150,000 San Diegans care for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s, the county’s third leading cause of death.
Finding a cure has been elusive. Despite billions spent on research and a number of clinical trials, only four drugs for treatment have been approved since 2000.
The panel included Mary Ball, President and CEO of Alzheimer’s San Diego, and Dr. Lisa Heikoff, former Physician in Charge at Kaiser Permanente. Discussions ranged from early warning signs to support and resources available. A question and answer session followed.
The fight to find a cure goes on. So must support for caregivers and family members. Alzheimer’s San Diego helped 36,000 San Diegans by providing free programs and services last year. Programs include education, support groups, respite care, social activities for those with dementia, and more.
As a member of the Assembly Health Committee for the past three years, I look forward to doing my small part to improve healthcare in California, and hopefully, to win the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease.