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Celebrities Stand Up To Advocate More Alzheimer's Research

The words 'Seth Rogen' and 'Alzheimer's disease' aren't usually put together in a sentence. While the comedic actor is best known for his string of successful television and movie roles, he is now making headlines for another reason altogether. The 'Knocked Up' star recently spoke out about the importance of Alzheimer's research - and the necessity of overcoming the stigma associated with the disease.

Rogen visited Capitol Hill to address a Senate committee about the disease. In recent years, he has become an active member of the Alzheimer's community. He co-founded the organization, Hilarity for Charity, in association with the Alzheimer's Association, in an effort to raise money for families dealing with the disease. The charity also aims to boost awareness as researchers continue to search for a cure. So why is a Hollywood star making Alzheimer's his top priority? Rogen has seen it up close and personal. His mother-in-law, Adele, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at just 54-years-old. Rogen watched the disease progress rapidly...and decided to use his influence to advocate for more government-funded research.

Alzheimer's disease affections millions of people around the world today. There are an estimated 5 million men and women in America alone living with the disease. That number is expected to rise to 16 million in the next 35 years. According to Rogen, Alzheimer's isn't just an issue facing many. It is also the most expensive health problem in the United States today. He said of the issue, "I've personally seen the massive amount of financial strain this disease causes.... I can't begin to imagine how people with more limited incomes are dealing with this."

In addition to the financial burden of Alzheimer's, Rogen also spoke about the need to break the stigma associated with the disease. One of his main goals with Hilarity for Charity was to educate young people about Alzheimer's. He believes that if more people shared their own experiences, it would prevent others from viewing dementia as a shameful disease. He hopes to raise awareness in the younger generation, creating a necessary dialogue.

During the address itself, Rogen had Francis Collins (the National Institutes of Health Director) and Richard Hodes (the National Institute of Aging Director) by his side. Despite their presence, he Tweeted afterward that he was disappointed by the turnout. Just two Senators showed up...and one left before his speech. He felt this proved that Alzheimer's funding and research was a low priority to the American government. However, though the turnout may have been low, Rogen's speech is creating plenty of buzz on entertainment and news websites alike.

Having a celebrity address issues related to Alzheimer's disease is undoubtedly a positive thing. His speech shone a light on struggles that many families deal with every single day. As a result, he has brought even more awareness to the severity of the disease. This gives hope that his star power can create change both in the stigma associated with Alzheimer's, as well as the level of government funding. What happens next is still unclear...but Rogen's commitment to the cause is admirable.