NIH budget cuts forced by the sequester have slowed the progress of research on Alzheimer's disease, an illness that costs about $200 billion each year and which Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, calls "the defining disease of this generation." On its current trajectory, Alzheimer's disease will affect twice the number of patients as now at double the cost, the RAND Corp. estimates. "We spend only $500 million annually on Alzheimer’s research and it costs Medicare and Medicaid $142 billion. It's going to bankrupt our health care system and we're spending only a pittance on prevention," said Collins, who wants to boost annual research funding to $2 billion.

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