SWHR Feedback to Senate Finance Health Subcommittee on Alzheimer’s Research Priorities

Policy Engagement

Published 3/13/20

SWHR sent comments to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care in response to its call for feedback related to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research and treatment. The subcommittee, helmed by Chairman Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), announced a call for input from stakeholders in February, following a hearing titled “Alzheimer’s Awareness: Barriers to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care Coordination.”

SWHR’s feedback focused on how the federal government can best encourage innovation in the field. The comments were based in large part on SWHR’s 2018 review paper on this topic, written in coordination with the SWHR Alzheimer’s Disease Network.

Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.8 million Americans worldwide, and the majority — approximately two-thirds of all diagnosed patients — are women. There is some evidence that women and men may differ in regards to etiology and presentation of the disease, but most studies of AD risk combine data for women and men, hindering progress in detection and care.

SWHR’s comments addressed how to best incorporate sex and gender into current and future research. The letter highlighted the need to examine sex-specific risk factors, the influence of hormones and hormone therapy, and sex differences in progression and trajectory of cognitive function and biomarkers. Additionally, SWHR emphasized the importance of addressing gender differences in caregiving for Alzheimer’s patients as well as how the burden of caregiving can influence AD risk.

Read SWHR’s Letter