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Bill Gates Joins the Fight Against Alzheimer's Disease

By Peter DiMaria

Dementia Care and Alzheimer's Care in Suffield

We all know Bill Gates, the guy who created Microsoft and Windows. He wouldn’t need much more than that to leave an enduring, historical legacy. But Bill Gates is on a new mission, one that if he achieves, could have even a greater impact on our lives than his operational system. The tech industry mogul is announcing a $ 100 million pledge to find the cure for Alzheimer’s.

Gates announced the project at the Today show, in an interview with Maria Shriver, where he also disclosed, for the first time that his 92 years old father, William Gates senior has Alzheimer’s Disease.

"More and more people are getting Alzheimer's, and it's a tragic disease," said Gates. 5.5 million Americans and their families are currently affected by Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer's Care and Home Care Costs

The reason more people are developing the disease is the fact that Americans are living longer, healthier lives. As baby boomers approach their 60s and 70s years of age, chances are many of them will suffer from Alzheimer’s and will need specialized dementia care and home care. In 2017, the cost of caring for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients surpassed $259 billion.

On the other hand, scientific progress in the fight against the disease has been slow. Alzheimer’s currently doesn’t have any effective treatment. The cause of the disease is still unknown.

"I really believe that if we orchestrate the right resources, it's solvable," Gates told Shriver.

Gates tells Maria Shriver he's father is an Alzheimer's Care patient.

                                                              Photo source: NBC News

As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private charity, he already helps fund the fights against HIV, polio, and malaria around the world.

In his pledge to cure Alzheimer’s Gates has developed a two-folded strategy:

  • 1) He is donating $ 50 million to the Dementia Discovery Fund, an organization focusing on innovative research;
  • 2) The other $ 50 million will fund a national patient registry, one that will speed up recruitment for clinical trials, and a groundbreaking international database for research that will help scientists share data, and perhaps collaborate, with one another.

 His objectives are, on one side, to bring up new ideas that could help develop drugs for Alzheimer’s treatment in the next 10 to 15 years. In the other, to “figure out ... when does the Alzheimer's really get started? When would you need to treat somebody to completely avoid them getting Alzheimer's?”, among other issues.

Click here to watch the interview.

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