On Tuesday, July 9, the health subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations will have the opportunity to act and provide funding for critical Alzheimer's research. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages every Maryland Patch reader who cares about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to call 1-800-687-3813 today. Tell Senator Mikulski that Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease facing our nation today and is set to increase like no other unless bold action is taken. Currently our country spends over $203 billion per year caring for those with Alzheimer’s, with two thirds of those costs paid by Medicare and Medicaid. And while those numbers are high, they're expected to skyrocket to over $20 trillion by 2050. But the true costs don't stop there. They aren't just numbers in a budget or line items in a spreadsheet. They often can't be easily calculated or quantified. Instead they're measured in diminished personal health, disappearing memories, increasing stress, lost time with a loved one and even bankruptcy. Nationwide a community of caregivers, family members and individuals with the disease bears these costs directly. And with over 5 million people living with the disease, over 15 million caregivers and with an American developing the disease every 68 seconds that community is growing. Despite staggering costs and a growing epidemic, chronic underinvestment continues in Alzheimer’s disease research. Our country invests less than 1% of what we spend for care and support on promising research; the very research that holds the keys to conquering this disease. That just doesn’t make sense. If you are a Maryland resident who cares about this disease, you know that to truly make a difference our nation must do more. Smart investments in other diseases have shown great success and are paying off, both in terms of cost AND lives saved. Clearly overcoming Alzheimer’s will save lives and is key to addressing our nation’s fiscal challenges. Please call 1-800-687-3813 and urge Senator Mikulski to take the first steps in addressing this problem by supporting an additional $100 million for efforts to combat Alzheimer’s disease in FY 2014. Thank you!