Alzheimer's group revs up push for bill

NEW YORK: The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) is using its annual Alzheimer's Awareness Month campaign to help push a bill through Congress that would evaluate the effectiveness of current screening tools.

NEW YORK: The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) is using its annual Alzheimer's Awareness Month campaign to help push a bill through Congress that would evaluate the effectiveness of current screening tools.

The bill, which passed the House in August and is now awaiting action in the Senate, calls on the secretary of Health and Human Services to test the accuracy of current detection methods and propose measures for expanding access to them. The campaign will pressure legislators to move on the bill with public displays of support.

"We have taken our case to the Capitol this year," said Carol Steinberg, EVP of the AFA, who is handling PR for the national "Together for Care" events.

The effort is also about raising awareness for early detection, as well as supporting the caregivers of Alzheimer's patients.

The campaign will highlight two national events: a candle-lighting event on Wednesday and Memory Screening Day on November 16, when seniors are encouraged to get tested.

Steinberg noted that this year's events are also bigger and better coordinated through a network of websites.

Novartis and Feinstein Kean, the AOR for its Alzheimer's drug Exelon, are working with the advocacy group to distribute a teal, ribbon-shaped pin.

Denise Brashear, director of PR for Novartis, noted that the awareness month is just one aspect of a "multifaceted" PR campaign for Exelon. The drug company is also trying to raise awareness through its "Identify Alzheimer's Disease" kit, which includes a video and other educational material.

Forest Laboratories, which makes Alzheimer's drug Namenda, is also a sponsor.

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