A quick, simple cure for Alzheimer’s will remove many dementia patients from nursing homes and assisted living units, causing serious revenue and job losses.
Naples, Fla. A simple, quick cure for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) will be a “medical miracle”, but will also slash $67 billion of revenue from nursing home operators and assisted living companies, plus cause the loss of 654,000 nursing home jobs, predicts Leslie Norins, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. His new analysis was published in Medical Hypotheses, a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Dr. Norins believes this “potential disaster” for the nursing home industry and its employees has received too little attention from business and government executives. He attributes this to the “creeping pessimism” that has come over the Alzheimer’s therapy field as more than 1,000 field trials of potential drugs, mostly targeted at amyloid plaques and protein tangles in the brain, have failed.
But, Dr. Norins says, “For decades little research money has been given to other possible triggers of AD, such as infectious agents. However, recently microbe investigations have been elevated to ‘high priority’ by the NIH.”
Why is this important? He explains, “If a causative germ for AD can be found, it’s possible an antibiotic could kill it and halt the disease. Then the steady inflow of AD patients to nursing homes and memory care units would cease, leaving empty beds and greatly reduced revenue.”
Dr. Norins cites syphilis (penicillin) and tuberculosis (streptomycin) as examples where a simple therapeutic antibiotic appeared unexpectedly – and led to closures of facilities devoted to prior lengthy treatments.
CDC estimates in the U.S. there are about 15,600 nursing homes, with 1.7 million beds. There are also about 28,900 residential care communities (includes “assisted living”) with about 996,000 beds. Surveys indicate 42 to 51 percent of their residents have AD or other dementias.
Dr. Norins comments, “Nobody knows the exact number of beds a simple Alzheimer’s cure would empty, but we can say the loss of revenue and jobs will be gigantic and create a major financial hit to the paid care industry. It’s time business and government stakeholders prepared contingency plans.”