Public Release: 

Report urges Congress to increase medical research

10 percent increase needed to prepare for health needs of aging America

Alliance for Aging Research

(Washington, DC) - The Task Force for Aging Research Funding today released its annual report urging Congress to act on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget put forth by the Bush Administration. The President's budget calls for "a disappointing 1.8 percent increase - an amount that represents a serious reversal of fortune for medical research critical to the health and well-being of aging Americans," according to the report. This budget proposal comes just one year after the historic bipartisan effort to double the budget of the NIH.

The Task Force report, endorsed by more than 57 national not-for-profit research and patient-support organizations, specifically urges Congress to increase the NIH budget by 10 percent, which would bring the total NIH budget to $30 billion in fiscal year 2004. According to the endorsing organizations, this is a small price to pay when weighed against the enormous physical, emotional and fiscal costs of aging-related diseases:

  • Alzheimer's costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion a year and the number of people suffering from Alzheimer's is projected to triple to 14 million
  • 17 million Americans live with the complications and life-shortening effects of diabetes, costing $132 billion annually
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates some 70 million Americans are afflicted with arthritis and joint diseases, costing as much as $125 billion annually

"Our nation is on the threshold of major medical advances that could help alleviate the pain and suffering that accompanies aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart disease," said Daniel Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research, which organized the Task Force. "We are jeopardizing the quality of life for aging Americans by seriously under-funding research and training programs following five years of unprecedented growth," added Perry.

The Task Force report was made possible by an unrestricted grant from the Retirement Research Foundation. Based in Chicago, the Research Retirement Foundation is the nation's largest private foundation devoted solely to aging and retirement issues. Established in 1978 by John D. MacArthur, its grants support programs, research and policy addressing aging and retirement issues. The report is being disseminated to Members of Congress, select federal agencies, and advocates of medical research.

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Interviews with Daniel Perry may be arranged by calling 202-747-5031. Copies of the Task Force for Aging Research Funding report may be obtained by calling 202-293-2856 or at www.agingresearch.org.

Founded in 1986, the Alliance for Aging Research is a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to supporting and accelerating the pace of medical discoveries to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging. The Alliance combines the interests of top scientists, public officials, business executives and foundation and academic leaders to promote a greater national investment in research and new technologies that will prepare our nation for the coming Senior Boom, and improve the quality of life for older Americans.

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