Thompson discusses the importance of advocacy and research in recognition of Alzheimer's Month

September 18, 2013


"Mr. Speaker, today I rise to discuss the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.

It’s a disease more than 5 million Americans are living with – and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the U.S. without a way to cure it or slow its progression.  

It’s a type of dementia that encompasses various diseases and conditions that damage brain cells - Alzheimer's disease.

September is Alzheimer's Month, a time spent by Alzheimer's advocates promoting and educating on this life-changing decease.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, deaths from Alzheimer's increased close to 70 percent between 2000 and 2010. During the same period deaths from other major diseases, such as heart disease, decreased.

In my home state of Pennsylvania, in 2010, more than 3,500 individuals died from Alzheimer’s.

My mom, Mary Thompson, suffered with Alzheimer's for ten years, as the disease slowly stole her memory, her dignity, and eventually her life.

In 2010, Congress passed legislation to create a national plan to combat Alzheimer’s disease. It established a National Alzheimer’s Project within the Department of Health and Human Services, to coordinate the country’s approach to research and caregiving.

This effort supports the amazing work being done through medical research and awareness to improve the lives of those with Alzheimer's.

While awareness of Alzheimer's has grown over the last decade, America and the world still have a long way to go to educate and combat this disease.

Alzheimer's is a condition that most Americans have encountered through a parent, loved one, friend, or someone close they care about. 
Together – through continued advocacy, research, and the dedicated work of health professionals, care providers, and scientific researchers – we can and will make a difference.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield back the balance of my time."