June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

It’s time to shine a purple light for the millions of people living with Alzheimer’s, especially during the month of June by mobilizing friends, families, neighbors, co-workers and customers to help bring an end to Alzheimer’s disease during Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

The Longest Day honors those who face the daily challenges of living with Alzheimer’s, those who live the longest day every day. Held annually on the summer solstice, The Longest Day symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Participants will do what they love – biking, hiking, playing bridge, swimming, knitting and more – to honor a caregiver, someone living with Alzheimer’s, or someone lost to this devastating disease.

As scientists scramble to find new treatments and maybe someday a cure, African Americans are nearly invisible in clinical Alzheimer’s trials: Despite representing more than 20 percent of the 5.5 million Americans who have the disease, African Americans account for only 3 to 5 percent of trial participants, according to researchers.

Hispanics also get Alzheimer’s and other dementias at a disproportionate rate (about 1½ times that of non-Hispanic whites), and they, too, represent a small fraction of those in trials (1.5 percent). For both Hispanics and African Americans, their lack of presence in trials complicates efforts to broadly test potential treatments. And it makes it that much more difficult to unravel the mystery of why some groups get Alzheimer’s more frequently than others.

Meanwhile, President Trump has proposed $6 billion in cuts to funding for the National Institutes of Health — about 18 percent of its budget. A congressional spending deal struck this spring to avoid a government shutdown boosted NIH’s budget by $2 billion through September — but over the long term, if the Trump administration gets its preferred budget, NIH could still face substantial cuts. And that, in turn, could hurt the National Institute on Aging, which is part of NIH. While the pharmaceutical-biotech industry conducts a significant percentage of all Alzheimer’s clinical trials and studies, the NIA is the largest public funder of Alzheimer’s research.

There are two main ways you can support the cause throughout the month of June.

Go Purple: Go Purple allows faith communities, organizations, companies, and social groups to support the Alzheimer’s Association by going purple to raise awareness of the disease and those impacted.

Go Purple with a Purpose: Many organizations and groups choose to supplement their Go Purple awareness efforts in June, with a variety of fundraising activities to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. Thousands of people worldwide Go Purple with Purpose in June by participating in The Longest Day.