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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | March 6, 2008

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Calls on Florida Legislature to Support Alzheimer's Memory Screening Bill Introduced by Wise, Schwartz

TALLAHASSEE, FL - The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) today announced its strong support of the Alzheimer's Memory Screening Bill (SB 1200 and HB 665) that will both establish a program to educate the public about screening for memory impairment and provide grants to increase screening sites throughout the state.

The bill was introduced by Senator Stephen R. Wise (R-5 th ) and Representative Elaine J. Schwartz (D-99 th ). AFA joined the legislators at a press conference today to announce the bill and AFA's support.

“Memory screening often holds the key to unlocking early detection of memory problems, including reversible conditions as well as irreversible illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease. The Wise-Schwartz bill is an important component to addressing the rising incidence of Alzheimer's disease in the state, and is a major step toward much-needed support and intervention,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA's president and chief executive officer.

Memory screening consists of a series of questions and/or tasks to check memory and other intellectual functions.  Most tests generally take only five minutes, and, while not a diagnosis, can indicate whether a complete medical evaluation would be beneficial.

Memory screenings are one of the major focal points of AFA's national initiatives. For the past five years, AFA has sponsored National Memory Screening Day annually in collaboration with community organizations to promote early detection of memory problems as well as Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and encourage appropriate intervention. This past November, qualified healthcare professionals at more than 2,000 sites nationwide—including about 150 sites in Florida—offered free confidential memory screenings to an estimated 40,000 participants, as well as follow-up resources and educational materials about dementia and successful aging. Next year, AFA will hold National Memory Screening Day on November 18. For additional information, visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org .

It is estimated that Alzheimer's disease currently affects more than five million Americans, and that number will likely triple by 2050.  In Florida , it is projected that 450,000 individuals aged 65 or older will have Alzheimer's disease by 2010. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes, and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. Age is the greatest known risk factor.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization made up of hundreds of member organizations that provide hands-on programs to meet the educational, emotional, practical and social needs of families affected by Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses. AFA's services include a toll-free hot line, counseling, educational materials, a free caregiver magazine, and professional training. For information, call (toll-free) 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.     

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 866-AFA-8484


Alzheimer's Foundation of America  866.232.8484

www.alzfdn.org