The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Ride started on 17 July 2010 in San Francisco and culminated yesterday, World Alzheimer’s Day, in Washington, DC. In support of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, and the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act, which would fund a national plan to tackle Alzheimer disease and increase AD funding to $2 billion a year, ride Chair Bruce Lamb, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, and 61 other researchers (see most of them in their cycling attire) gathered signatures as they pedaled their way across 14 states and more than 65 congressional districts. “The ride was an emotional journey as we took to the road battling heat (temperatures over 110 degrees for sections of the ride), mountains (over the continental divide at 8,000 feet above sea level), exhaustion (over 4,500 miles completed), railroad tracks (several spills along the way), and even dogs (with one in Ohio that nearly took me down),” recounted Lamb. In addition, the riders heard about the human toll of Alzheimer disease from thousands of individuals along the route and from thousands more who commented on the ride website. “That has further committed and inspired the Breakthrough riders to obtain greater funding for Alzheimer disease research and to find new and effective treatments for the disease,” said Lamb.
To help achieve that goal, Lamb and other researchers met with their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill on Monday. Yesterday, Lamb; Marilyn Albert from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; Dennis Dickson, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida; Ron Petersen, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; and Rudy Tanzi from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, visited the White House to discuss Alzheimer disease with Obama Administration officials, including Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform; Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services; and Melody Barnes, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Representatives from the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer's Association, Cure Alzheimer's Fund and other advocacy organizations also attended. "Hopefully, the meeting will be the first of many and lead to the Obama Administration’s full support of pending legislation,” said Lamb. (See ARF related news story on the World Alzheimer’s Day.)—Tom Fagan
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