Contact: Gary Fitzpatrick (202) 707-8542, Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

October 26, 1993

Library of Congress To Host Symposium on Alzheimer's Disease

The Library of Congress and the National Institute of Mental Health will co-sponsor the fifth symposium in their "Decade of the Brain" lecture series, with additional funding made available by the Charles A. Dana Foundation. The symposium will be held at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, November 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will focus on the effects of aging on the human brain and the neurological and psychological concerns of the aged.

The topic, "The Aging Brain, Alzheimer's, and New Perspectives," is especially timely because of recent groundbreaking developments in Alzheimer's research. Substantial progress toward reduction of the disease's staggering cost and human suffering will require continued advances in biomedical research in concert with measures to reform health care delivery. The statistics are startling. Alzheimer's disease affects about one in 10 persons over 65 and almost half of those who reach 85. By 2020, there may be 8 million cases in the United States, unless a cure is found. The cost to the nation of the disease is nearly $100 billion annually. Cost of care at home for a person afflicted can exceed $18,000 per year and be as much as $50,000 for nursing home care.

Recent research, much of which has accelerated during the "Decade of the Brain," has shown great promise in attacking the disease and perhaps preventing it. The November 10 symposium for interested non-specialists, including members of Congress and their staff, will review the progress of Alzheimer's research, including the discovery of a late-onset Alzheimer's disease gene and its relationship to potential therapy. Discussants also will describe research on the brain's aging process and degenerative diseases affecting the brain; statistics of the aging population of the United States and its mental health concerns; and implications for public policy such as health care costs, long-term care issues, and research priorities.

The "Decade of the Brain" guest speakers are: Joseph B. Martin, M.D., Ph.D., chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco; Kenneth S. Kosik, M.D., associate professor of neurology, Harvard Medical School and physician, Center for Neurologic Diseases, Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital; and Allen D. Roses, M.D., Jefferson-Pilot professor of neurobiology and neurology, director of the Joseph & Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and chief of the Division of Neurology, Duke University Medical Center. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, will provide opening remarks and Frederick K. Goodwin, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, will chair the symposium.

The symposium will be held in the Members Room, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. Members of the press are welcome; please confirm attendance in advance by calling the Library's Special Events Hotline (202) 707-1616 and providing your name, affiliation, phone number and the November 10 "Decade of the Brain" event.

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PR 93-134
ISSN 0731-3527

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