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Bill Gates invests $50 million of his own money to fight Alzheimer's Disease

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 file photo, Bill Gates talks to reporters about the 2016 annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York. Gates says he’s giving $50 million to help fight Alzheimer’s disease. The Microsoft co-founder said Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, that the donation to the Dementia Discovery Fund is personal and not through his charitable foundation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig,File)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - Bill Gates announced he's investing $50 million of his own money to fight Alzheimer's Disease.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, people have a 50 percent chance of developing the disease after the age of 85.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's.

Gates wrote on his website he has personal experience with the disease, as several men in his family have had it.

"I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity, and there is nothing you can do about it. It feels a lot like you’re experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew," he wrote.

Gates says he's spent time with academics, researchers, funders, and industry experts and believes progress can be made in the following five areas:

  • Understanding how Alzheimer's unfolds
  • Early detection and diagnosis
  • More approaches to stopping the disease
  • Making it easier for people to get involved in clinical trials
  • Using available data more efficiently

He believes that by improving in those areas, there can be an "intervention that drastically reduces the impact of Alzheimer’s."

Gates' money will be going to the Dementia Discovery Fund, a private fund that works "to diversify the clinical pipeline and identify new targets for treatment."

The Alzheimer's Assocation says Gates' multidemensional approach to the disease is crucial.

Officials say they're learning more about the brain, and how it changes throughout a person's life.

The assocation is leading the following initiatives:

  • Data sharing through the Global Alzheimer's Assocation Interactive Network
  • Clinical trials examining the impact of lifestyle interventions through the U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk
  • Large-scale early detection efforts such as the World Wide Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and Imaging Dementia - Evidence for Amyloid Scanning

The association says these are just a few examples of their efforts to accelerate progress and increase the nation's federal commitment to Alzheimer's research.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, research funding at the National Institutes of Health has nearly tripled and yet, "this amount is still not suffiecient to create the progress needed to achieve the bipartisan, federal commitment to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's by 2025."

"Having Bill Gates declare his dedication to making an impact on accelerating progress is great for the cause. We extend our deep thanks to Bill Gates for his commitment to moving the Alzheimer's cause forward even faster, and extend our open arms in working together to achieve a world without Alzheimer’s," the association wrote.

To learn more about the Alzheimer's Association and Alzheimer's Disease, click here.

On November 4th, the Central Virginia Alzheimer's Association had a walk that raised $139,000. It's not too late to donate. Click here to help out.

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