H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Apr 2, 2013 8:33 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Brain research proposal gives Central Coast patients hope

President Barack Obama wants major funding for brain research.

The brain initiative is an effort to find cures for diseases like Alzheimer's, Epilepsy and traumatic brain injuries.

The president's 2014 federal budget proposal will include $100,000,000 for various federal science agencies to start up the project.

The president says the research will keep America on the cutting edge of research and development.

That's welcome news to people suffering from degenerative brain disease on the Central Coast.

Lee Ferrero was forced to retire early after doctors diagnosed him with early onset Alzheimer's.

"If I could turn the clock back, I would've taken a lot more time to be more with family, do more things for me," said Ferrero.

This self-proclaimed workaholic says he realized something was wrong with his brain, one day, more than seven years ago.

"I hopped into the car to go to a meeting, and it was in Sacramento," said Ferrero, "But I went right on through Sacramento all the way to the Grapevine."

Ferrero had missed his destination by more than 350 miles.

"I didn't tell anyone about that for a long time, but that told me this can't be normal," said Ferrero.

After three years of searching for answers, he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, a destructive brain disease, and his working days were over.

"Alzheimer's disease is the number one health care crisis of the century," said Nancy Sutton of the San Luis Obispo Alzheimer's Association.

Sutton says in the U.S. alone, more than 5 million people are living with the disease, and that number will triple by 2050.

Although Lee Ferrero hopes that Obama's plan finds a cure, he's says he's making sure to live the rest of his life without regret.

"Do the things that you haven't done, go to the places you haven't been to, cause we don't know, we don't know what tomorrow brings," said Ferrero.

The local Alzheimer's Association offers counseling, group therapy and other types of support for patients and their families.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in every three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia.

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