For decades, Alzheimer’s disease has stumped doctors and researchers trying to find a cure. It is the most common form of dementia and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Currently more than 5 million Americans live with the disease, costing close to $260 billion per year. A disease that has plagued millions of people in the past century, no cure has been discovered, but help may be on the way. In a recent interview with CNN, tech guru Bill Gates pledged to donate $50 million to Alzheimer’s research.
This is Gates’ first commitment to Alzheimer’s disease, as he has been mostly committed to infectious diseases such HIV, malaria, and polio. The money will be given to the Dementia Discovery Fund, a private research partnership that Gates believes can help find a cure, “I believe there is a solution,” he told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, “Any type of treatment would be a huge advance from where we are today, but the long-term goal is a cure.” Gates hopes the research focuses about what drives Alzheimer’s, and developing a more thorough understanding about the brain’s immune system. For Gates, the fight is personal, “Several of the men in my family have this disease. And so, you know, I’ve seen how tough it is. That’s not my sole motivation, but it certainly drew me in.”
It was over a century ago that the disease was first discovered by German physician Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906, where he noted significant memory loss, extreme paranoia, and several other psychological changes. Despite the countless years that people have known about Alzheimer’s, there is still no definitive cure. Since 2002, there have been more than 400 Alzheimer drug trials, but none of them worked, and there is still no cure. Gates, doctors, and anyone affected by this disease are certainly hoping that Gates’ donation makes a serious impact, and they hope someday, preferably soon, we will find a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.