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December 2, 2014 (San Diego)--Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating disorder that plunges its victims into a fog of lost memories, forgetfulness and an eventual loss of the ability to remember the most basic day-to-day details about their own lives.

It’s the region’s third leading cause of death.

There is no cure for the disease, but a broad-reaching effort launched by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors today is aimed at making the county the epicenter of progress in discovering a cure and improving the lives of the 60,000 county residents that currently suffer from the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Project was first proposed by Chairwoman Dianne Jacob in her 2014 State of the County Address.

“We are here today for all those with this disease and all those that care for them,” Jacob said. “No one should have to face this disease alone.”

The effort is uniting County and City of San Diego leaders; the County’s Health and Human Services Agency; researchers at UC San Diego, Scripps Research Institute, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Salk Institute; Biocom; the San Diego County Medical Society; local law enforcement; the Alzheimer’s Association; caregivers; physicians; and local philanthropist Darlene Shiley.

The Board approved the plan after hearing testimony on the components of the project:

  • Launch a multimillion-dollar fund drive called Part the Clouds to spur research innovation and drug discovery.
  • Develop the region’s first clinical standards for the screening, diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
  • Boost public awareness and involvement in clinical trials.
  • Increase training for those who work with Alzheimer’s patients and expand services and support for those with the disease and their caregivers.
  • Curb incidents of wandering through the use of GPS, the county’s Take Me Home registry and other methods.

“Four out of five Alzheimer’s patients are cared for at home, and 85 percent of care is provided by family members or unpaid caregivers,” said County Supervisor Dave Roberts. “The disease devastates families and wears down families that are often the caregivers.”

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Project, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.


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