Bill Gates built an empire by being a technological problem solver, but now the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist is working to solve the problem of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s hits close to home for Gates, who revealed for the first time that his father, 92-year-old Bill Gates Sr., suffers with the disease. “More and more people are getting Alzheimer’s, and it’s a tragic disease,” said Gates.
In 2017 alone, Americans spent $259 billion caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Despite decades of research, the cause of the disease is still unknown and effective treatments still unavailable. But Gates, who’s donating $100 million of his own money to find a cure, is optimistic.
As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charity, Gates already helps fund the fights against HIV, polio and malaria around the world. But the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, which currently affects 5.5 million Americans and their families, is different, he says. Gates argues that right now too many research dollars go toward mainstream treatments that aren’t effective. He wants to see more money spent on new, unconventional research. That’s why half of Gates’ $100 million will go to the Dementia Discovery Fund, an organization focusing on innovative research.
“I’m an optimist. Bringing in new ideas, that’s what we’re gonna have to do, to have great drugs for this in the next 10 to 15 years,” Gates said.
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