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May 26, 2016
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Legislative UpdatesLegislative Updates

108th Congress

Public Laws | arrow indicating current page Pending Legislation

The Ronald Reagan Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act of 2004

S. 2533/H.R. 4595


Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among older people. Four million Americans suffer from the disease, including 1 in 10 people over age 65 and nearly half of those over age 85. Nineteen million Americans say they have a family member with Alzheimer’s disease. Without a cure, the number of Alzheimer’s patients is expected to more than triple in the next 50 years.

Former President Ronald Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and his death on June 5, 2004, brought new attention to the disease. In honor of the former President, on June 16, 2004, Senators Christopher S. “Kit” Bond (R-MO) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) introduced S. 2533, and Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) introduced the companion measure, H.R. 4595. Senators Bond and Mikulski and Representative Markey also sponsored the Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Prevention, and Care Act of 2003 (S. 566/H.R. 1138).

Provisions of the Legislation/Impact on NIH

The Ronald Reagan Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2004 would have:

  • Doubled funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH) Alzheimer’s disease research by increasing authorization levels to $1.4 billion beginning in fiscal year 2005
  • Required the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to host a National Summit on Alzheimer’s Disease to examine:
    • The current Alzheimer’s disease research agenda at NIH
    • Priorities for current and future federally supported Alzheimer’s disease initiatives
    • Information and education programs for health care professionals and the public
    • Challenges and opportunities for the research community and the public
  • Codified into law three existing Alzheimer’s disease research programs at the National Institute on Aging (NIA):
    • Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Initiative
    • Cooperative Clinical Research
    • Caregiving Research

The legislation would have also directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a public education campaign on Alzheimer’s disease prevention techniques to help individuals maintain their brain as they age. The campaign would have been based on current NIH research and would have been similar to outreach already being conducted by NIA.

Status and Outlook

S. 2533 was introduced by Senators Bond and Mikulski on June 16, 2004, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. No further action occurred on this legislation during the 108th Congress.

H.R. 4595 was introduced by Representative Markey on June 16, 2004, and was referred to the House Committees on Ways and Means, on Education and Workforce, and on Energy and Commerce. No further action occurred on this legislation during the 108th Congress.



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