State Senator Carla Nelson’s (R-Rochester) new bill aimed at promoting public awareness and early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, the progressive and irreversible brain disorder that affects more than 5.5 million Americans, was unanimously approved by the Senate’s committee on Aging and Long-term Care today.
“I am grateful for the overwhelming support for this bipartisan bill,” said Sen. Nelson. “Like millions of Americans, my family has been personally impacted by this heartbreaking disease. I am encouraged by the amazing progress that our brilliant scientists and medical experts are making every day, but a new public awareness program is needed to communicate how essential early detection is for better outcomes.”
The bill would task the Department of Health with developing a statewide public information program with several objectives:
- Promoting the benefits of early detection
- Outlining the benefits of cognitive testing and tracking early warning signs
- Providing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
The program will be targeted to Minnesotans generally, but will include specific messages aimed at the underserved, such as rural communities, individuals of color, and Native and Indigenous populations.
According to the National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Fact Sheet, recent estimates suggest that Alzheimer’s is the third leading cause of death in older Americans, behind only heart disease and cancer.