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If California wants to prepare for the coming Alzheimer's epidemic, it must pass this legislation

If California wants to prepare for the coming Alzheimer's epidemic, it must pass this legislation
A doctor goes over images from a brain scan at the Banner Alzheimers Institute in Phoenix in 2018. (Matt York / Associated Press)

To the editor: Maria Shriver’s Feb. 11 op-ed article reiterates California’s unpreparedness to face Alzheimer’s disease as an urgent public health issue.

A new bill in the Assembly, AB 388, introduced by Assemblywoman Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), would have the state adopt a public-health approach to improve outcomes and reduce costs. It would create the first statewide Alzheimer’s public awareness campaign and fund grants to local public health departments to explore community-based innovations.

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Combined with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal of $3 million for Alzheimer’s research, this one-time investment would total $13 million and save us billions down the line.

Limón and the bill’s co-authors, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), are paving the way for California to move from unprepared to national leadership on Alzheimer’s prevention and preparedness.

Jackie Kouri, Pacific Palisades

The writer is board chairwoman of the Alzheimer’s Assn. California Southland Chapter.

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To the editor: Alzheimer’s disease effectively destroys people’s brains. It is terrifying that 1 in 10 Americans over age 65, and 1 in 3 over 85, are living with the disease.

Shriver is pleased that people want to understand more about Alzheimer’s. Better yet, how about a means possibly to prevent it?

I believe there is a way. The clue is from the senior poker group I founded about 30 years ago. We have more than 200 members, and to the best of my knowledge not a single person has developed Alzheimer’s.

True, this is anecdotal evidence. Perhaps a more extensive study is warranted.

George Epstein, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Shriver points out how unprepared California is to face its coming dementia epidemic. She notes that in his 2019-20 budget, Newsom has allocated $3 million to support research meant to foster a better understanding of Alzheimer’s.

In the same print edition of the L.A.Times, it was reported that Newsom also called for $25 million for nonprofits that provide services to asylum seekers. He has also embraced other efforts to help immigrants in the country without permission, including an expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility for undocumented young adults “at a cost some have pegged at about $250 million per year.”

Newsom should revisit his priorities.

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M.L. Griswold, Canyon Lake, Calif.

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