Fighting Alzheimer’s - a worldwide priority
The extraordinary increase of life expectancy in developed countries is provoking a universally demographic aging process triggered by the 20th century’s technological and scientific progresses and the adoption of a healthier lifestyle in wealthy societies. Along this process, certain illnesses, disabilities and functional limitations have been confined to older ages. Noteworthy, neurodegenerative illnesses remain as an exception to the statement above. Such group of pathologies – being Alzheimer’s disease the most common one– is progressively growing, especially beyond those over 65 years old.
Today 35 million people throughout the world suffer from some kind of neurodegenerative illness. Given the increasing number of people who live longer, the prevalence of dementia has acquired epidemic features due to our lack from efficient treatments to stop or delay its course. Such lack of medically effective solutions results in a social and health situation that will hardly be sustainable.
The Pasqual Maragall Foundation for Research on Alzheimer’s disease was founded in April of 2008 with the objective of promoting an innovative research model to generate decisive knowledge in the fight against these illnesses. It is the foundation’s aim to offer new opportunities, give support to less conventional scientific approaches and to test alternative ideas and innovative methods that may complement the academic research which is currently being performed in several research centers all over the world.
The only way to reduce the number of sick people and their degree of dependency is to generate new scientific knowledge. This will lead us to a better understanding of these illnesses’ origins and progression. Improvement in early diagnosis is a key aspect. The earlier we diagnose the illness, the more chances we will have to delay its course and prolong the initial phases. Such step would be an undeniable improvement in the quality of life of both patients and caregivers.
Raising awareness and knowledge of these diseases and boosting the role of the private sector in the field of biomedical research are the two other compulsory objectives to be achieved, in order to face what has already turned into one of the greatest scientific, health and social challenges of our century.
Executive Director of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation