As a public health professor and ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association, I feel we need to make a concerted effort in Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. The Sept. 3 article in the Advocate, “Midlife weight may affect when Alzheimer’s hits” gives me hope that lifestyle changes in midlife can help prevent this devastating disease.

The article described a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, which showed that maintaining a healthy weight at midlife is likely to have long-lasting protective effects in preventing Alzheimer’s.

We are fortunate to have legislators such as Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is a fighter for Medicare and our seniors. Medicare, along with the necessary passage of the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education for Alzheimer’s Act will complement each other.

The HOPE Act will provide coverage for comprehensive care planning services to Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The time is now for helping those with Alzheimer’s and passing the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act since everyone with a brain is at risk of developing Alzheimer’s, the most expensive disease in the U.S., with more than 16 million Americans expected to be living with the disease in 2050.

Kathleen Welch

Tulane professor

New Orleans