Bill Gates personally donates $100 million to Alzheimer's research

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has concentrated mainly on fighting communicable diseases such as malaria and polio in poor countries.

Gates noted that he, personally, is not without his own worries. The Alzheimer's Association says more than 5 million Americans are living with the progressive disease, which impairs memory and cognitive function.

There are 47 million people living with some form of dementia globally; about 60% to 80% of those cases are Alzheimer's disease.

Through advanced study of the brain, Gates said he's hopeful for a treatment that drastically reduces Alzheimer's.

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In a blog post, Mr. Gates outlined his reasons for donating, saying that Alzheimer's and dementia greatly reduce quality of life, take an extreme emotional toll on families and put an vast economic burden on the nation's health care system.

Gates acknowledged that making progress against Alzheimer s would be a long-term project. "I believe we can do the same (or better) with Alzheimer s".

The philanthropist, whose focus usually involves infectious diseases in poorer countries, said that Alzheimer's took his attention for personal reasons in part, and because it has been so hard to find any treatment.

"A person with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia spends five times more every year out-of-pocket on health care than a senior without a neurodegenerative condition", he wrote. Since we don't yet have a good understanding of the disease or a reliable diagnostic, it's hard to find qualified people early enough in the disease's progression willing to participate.

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The DDF, managed by SV Health, was launched in October 2015 to drive the development and discovery of novel therapies for dementia, formed through a collaboration of seven pharmaceutical companies - Biogen, Eli Lilly and Company, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka (Astex) - the UK's Department of Health and the charity Alzheimer's Research UK.

Gates is optimistic that with focused and well-funded innovation treatments can be found, even if it may take a decade to reach them.

He was realistic by adding that he hoped that within 10 years some strong drugs were available, but there is the possibility that will not be achieved.

It's the first time Gates, one of the richest men in the world, has used his financial punch to take the fight to dementia, and the additional funding will allow the DDF to back more companies and recruit additional personnel-including a chief executive to lead the fund and direct the efforts of its scientific advisory board, drawn mainly from industry. "The Alzheimer's Association commends Bill Gates for digging in and joining the cause".

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