The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Alzheimer’s research deserves more funding

Around the time I was 12 years old, my grandmother was put into the hospital for various health reasons. 

While she was there, I witnessed the doctor asking her basic questions about the date, the president, and her name. 

She did not answer them correctly. She sat in her bed in frustration as she struggled to remember. 

It was in that moment when I realized my wonderful grandmother was losing her memory. 

She is one of 5.3 million people suffering from some type of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

It has been ten years since that time, and my grandmother’s dementia has progressed rapidly. She can no longer say my name, she gets confused and scared easily, and she needs constant care from her nurses, caretakers, and family members. 

Watching this disease progress and take over the woman who helped make my childhood special has been one of the hardest things I have had to endure. 

This was the woman who spent hours telling me all about her life as I listened in fascination—and now she cannot even remember those stories. 

My family is not the only family that has gone through this. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 15.9 million family and friends provided 18 billion hours of care for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias last year. 

These families spend years of their lives loving and caring for their loved ones who more people than likely cannot even remember their names. 

Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death—killing more than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined. 

There is no cure for the disease, no prevention, and no way of slowing it down, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.  

Yet, funding for Alzheimer’s is abysmal compared to other major diseases. The National Institutes of Health spends over $6 billion a year on cancer research, over $4 billion on heart disease research and over $3 billion on HIV/AIDS research. 

It only spends $480 million on Alzheimer’s research. Treatment for this disease that kills 1 in 3 seniors is not funded nearly enough as it should be. 

The government and families across the U.S. are spending billions of dollars to take care of these individuals, but the funding to help find a cure —or even avenues of prevention— is not there.

While I am grateful that my grandmother got to watch me grow up, I hate what this disease has done to her. This disease has made her into someone who is not herself. This disease changes people into vessels of who they really are. 

Those suffering from Alzheimer’s deserve funding to find ways to prevent and cure this disease. We need to start raising awareness of how prevalent and awful Alzheimer’s truly is. 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Alzheimer’s research deserves more funding