Alzheimer's disease gets infusion of research dollars

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) -- Good news for Alzheimer’s patients, the Obama administration announced the first of a two-part plan to devote an extra $130 million to dementia research.

Something as simple as enjoying her morning cup of coffee is a luxury Marge Knapmiller of Eau Claire didn't have until last month.

In January Marge had a heart attack, forcing her to put her 68-year-old husband Jerry, who suffers from advanced dementia in the nursing home.

“Looking back at it now after the heart attack I guess I should have said stop along time ago but ya know your mind tells you one thing and your heart another. I just always felt I was giving up if I put him in a facility,” she tells us.

Marge is part of growing number over stressed caregivers, tending to husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 66 percent between 2000 and 2008, it's one reason the national government is stepping in.

“Well it's exciting to know that for the first time the government is recognizing Alzheimer’s disease is a national priority,” Lisa Wells with the Eau Claire County Aging & Disability Resource Center says.

Wells says the added money for research will also mean more options for caregivers like Marge.

“There needs to be more awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. We have all these walks for breast cancer and heart disease and you have the whole town showing up, and then at Alzheimer’s events there's just a small amount of people who even realize it’s a problem,” she says.

Obama's move is part of his administrations development of the first National Alzheimer’s Plan, its main goal is to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 along with having more caregiver support.

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