P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2012
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today presided over the first hearing of the newly created Joint Interim Committee to Study Alzheimer's Disease.
This panel of five Senators and five State Representatives, chaired by Senator Nelson, will examine Texas' long-term strategy to address the challenges of Alzheimer's Disease, which impacts 340,000 Texans who suffer from the disease and approximately 900,000 unpaid caregivers who are providing care to these individuals.
"My experience as my mother's primary caretaker during her 8-year battle with this cruel disease gives me a unique perspective on responsibility of this committee," said Senator Nelson. "Today we received invaluable input from advocates, volunteers, caregivers, and members of the scientific and medical community. With their contribution, we are working to assess the impact of Alzheimer's Disease on our state; plan for infrastructure and capacity needs; and, perhaps most importantly, bring awareness to this issue."
Among the witnesses testifying at the public hearing was Edith Royal, wife of legendary former Texas Longhorns football coach, Darrell Royal. Mrs. Royal shared with committee members her experience serving as caretaker for Coach Royal, who is battling dementia. The Royals were joined by long-time friends and supporters, 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and actor Matthew McConaughey. The Committee also heard testimony from witnesses invited from the Texas Council on Alzheimer's and Related Disorders, the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas, the Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center at the Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
The committee must file a report and make policy recommendations prior to the next legislative session. To follow the progress of this and other interim studies, visit www.capitol.state.tx.us, where you may watch live feeds and sign up to receive meeting notices.