Florida wants to find a cure for Alzheimer’s
Florida is home to America’s oldest city, St. Augustine. It also has the second-largest senior citizen population in the United States. So, it seems appropriate that the Sunshine State wants to play a role in treating, preventing, and hopefully curing Alzheimer’s disease.
This mission is being led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who recently signed Senate Bill 806 into law. The READY Act is designed to provide support for Alzheimer’s research, medical training, education, diagnosis, and care.
“We want to help those living with Alzheimer’s, but we also would like to play a part with helping with research and treatment, so we can eventually take care of this much better,” DeSantis said.
The governor says he wants to put “seniors first” and the amount of money behind this effort seems to suggest he’s living up to his word. Florida has set aside more than $52 million for the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative Program. According to the governor’s office, that’s about $12 million more than last year.
This announcement comes on the heels of a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Researchers believe a sugar molecule known as glycan, could play a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Now scientists can target this molecule with tests, treatments, and possibly prevention which would ultimately lead to a cure.
Supporting caregivers is a major component of the governor’s Dementia Action plan. He announced the creation of the Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence, to connect seniors and caregivers with “resources and training.”
Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease. It’s difficult to watch someone you love, lose their memory, behavioral and social skills, as well as their ability to function independently. Essentially, that loved one slips away before your eyes.
No matter your party affiliation or which side of the political aisle on which you stand, we can all agree this is a noble initiative. With Florida often making national news for all the wrong reasons, I’m thankful to be living in a state that wants to help and understands it has a responsibility to do so, based on its extensive senior population.
John Grant, a former Florida state legislator, is the president and executive director of Seniors Across America, a Tampa-based advocacy group for the elderly population.
View article from Orlando Sentinel here.