Alzheimer's disease was the eighth-leading cause of death in 2001. There is no cure and no effective treatment. Alzheimer's disease presents policymakers with several challenges, including the level of funding and direction of federally funded research, as well as the cost pressures on Medicare and Medicaid of long-term care. These challenges will increase in intensity as demographic changes, particularly the aging of baby boomers, take hold. Better prevention of Alzheimer's, advances in therapy, and appropriate care modalities will likely require significant investment.