Obama administration announces $156 million to combat Alzheimer's

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"Today's announcement reflects this administration's commitment to confronting Alzheimer's, a disease that takes a devastating toll on millions of Americans," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusNew Dem Kansas gov reinstates protections for LGBT state employees Next Kansas governor to reinstate LGBT protections for state workers Progressives set to test appeal of prairie populism in Kansas primary MORE said in a statement. "We can't wait to act; reducing the burden of Alzheimer's disease on patients and their families is an urgent national priority."

More than 5 million Americans suffer from the debilitating disease, a number that's on track to double by 2050 as the population ages. 

Rep. Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: Watchdog investigating EPA enforcement numbers | EPA's Wheeler faces Senate grilling | Interior's offshore drilling staff returning to work during shutdown EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Ocasio-Cortez, progressives express disappointment with climate panel MORE (D-Mass.), sponsor of the National Alzheimer's Project Act that was enacted last year, applauded the announcement.

"The urgency of the Alzheimer's pandemic demands immediate action, and today's announcement … heralds vital progress in our nation's commitment to curing this devastating disease," Markey said. "President Obama signaled this commitment last year when he signed the National Alzheimer's Project Act into law, and HHS has been both thoughtful and aggressive in its development of a national plan."

Markey also used the occasion to press for passage of bipartisan legislation he said would "spur innovation in research and drug development for high-cost, chronic health conditions such as Alzheimer's." The Spending Reductions through Innovations in Therapies (SPRINT) Act was introduced in the House and Senate last week.