The BOLD (Building Our Largest Dementia) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is a legislation introduced by Senator Susan Collins of Maine and cosponsored by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. Currently, there are more than 5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s and this number is projected to triple to 16 million by 2050. The United States is currently spending 259 billion dollars each year in order to support individuals with Alzheimer’s. According to Senator Collins, we have come to a point where it is time to “translate research into practice”. The bill itself states that “public health works on a population level to protect and improve the health and safety of an entire community”. The legislation’s main focus is to prevent and find a treatment for Alzheimer’s using this approach. From multiple studies we now know that Alzheimer’s along with other types of dementia develops over a period of time, making it preventable. Lifestyle changes such as implementing good eating habits, exercising, and keeping our minds engaged and active is essential in our first steps toward a dementia free world. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will take charge in implementing the BOLD act and will be beneficial for both the individual dealing with Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers. Three keys principles would be established:
1.Centers of Excellence for Alzheimer’s: This legislation accounts for 12 million dollars to be spent toward the construction of centers all across the nation to educate the public on Alzheimer’s, intervention, and maintaining mental health. Interventions would specifically be geared for early detection, reducing the risk of developing the disorder, reducing avoidable hospitalization and constructing structured care plans for individuals dealing with the disorder. These centers would apply the CDC’s Healthy Aging Public Health Road Map and would support families, communities, services, and the individual themselves who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. The needs of family members and caregivers will be heavily prioritized.
2. Cooperative Agreements: Core capacity awards are authorized up to 20 million dollars and will be used by states to carry out public initiatives for the prevention, early detection, care, and treatment for Alzheimer’s. The money will fund the state's initiatives to carry out key steps. The key steps include supporting early detection and diagnosis, reducing the risk of avoidable hospitalizations, reducing the risk of cognitive decline, enhancing support given to caregivers, reducing health differences, and supporting planning and management for care given to those dealing with Alzheimer’s.
3. Data Collection and Analysis: The legislation has allocated 5 million dollars for the timely collection and distribution of data regarding the number of individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, and individuals with health disparities by the CDC. Data has been authorized to be collected using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).
Thanks to Senator Collins as well as all of the congressmen who co-sponsored and supported the bill, we are one step closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Let’s keep moving toward a dementia free world!