Billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates has pledged around $100 million in the fight against brain-wasting diseases, earmarking half of that for start-ups researching treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Newsweek reports.
“It’s a huge problem, a growing problem, and the scale of the tragedy—even for the people who stay alive—is very high,” he said. “I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some powerful drugs, but it’s possible that won’t be achieved.”
Of the total sum, around half is set to be donated to the Dementia Discovery Fund, while the rest will go to other organisations, focusing on new approaches to Alzheimer’s research.
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Gates announced the move on his blog, where he explained his personal reasons for joining the effort on tackling Alzheimer’s disease. “I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity... It feels a lot like you’re experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew,” he wrote.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City, U.S., September 20. Brendan McDermid/Reuters
“Some of the men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer’s,” Gates wrote, noting that his family history of the disease informed his insights into it but that “isn't the sole reason” why he is setting millions aside for finding treatment.