'This Week' Transcript: O'Donnell and Coons

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SHRIVER: I have four brothers, and I write about them. They have -- I think giving their children a whole new role model, which is the strong, nurturing man. They take care of my dad, and they're there 24/7.

AMANPOUR: So let's get down to the -- to the real issue. One of the real issues is funding, resourcing, political, galvanizing, but we we're talking -- I mean, your own husband, governor of California, has had to cut back some of these programs because of budget cuts. Alzheimer's is, by a huge factor, less resourced, less funding than cancer and other such diseases.

SHRIVER: Yes. And in the Time magazine which has Alzheimer's on the cover, one of the doctors says that, you know, heart disease and cancer get $6 billion, $5 billion, and Alzheimer's gets $500 million. And, in fact, it's going to be Alzheimer's in the next several years that's going to get those people way before cancer or heart disease.

So, obviously, we need to increase funding. But, you know, in this climate, that'll probably be difficult. There's a breakthrough act that asks for $2 billion for research. But I think, once again, this president could say, "I want to launch" -- just like Kennedy launched expedition to the moon, he can launch an expedition to the brain.

There are so many secrets in the brain that can uncover the cures for Alzheimer's, Huntington, Parkinson's, intellectual disabilities, how we learn, how we love, how we remember. All of this is in the brain. And why not have something like that in this country to galvanize people around?

O'LEARY: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the things that's happening is we're making these very short-term decisions about how we fund things. And we're cutting paid caregivers in many of our states because of these budget crises. But look at what's going to happen on the back end. If we don't have somebody providing paid care or providing unpaid care, because they can't take the time off from work, many people will end up being institutionalized. That is much more expensive, and we really need to think about those...

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: And what many people ask is, is there a cure or is there anything like a cure or something on the horizon?

O'LEARY: Well, I think there's -- you know, there's not a cure, but there's a lot of hope, in terms of the research that's going on. You know, Time magazine has done this terrific issue today talking about the research and what's happening. There's a lot we've learned. There's a lot of hope. And I think Terry Moran's right: We have to have that hope.

But we have to invest in the research. There's so little money invested in the research.

SHRIVER: And one of the great things to get us hope will be more people who volunteer for trials. There are lots of trials that are going on...

(CROSSTALK)

SHRIVER: ... anybody can volunteer for a trial. And the thing that we've learned in the last kind of six months is that Alzheimer's develops 15, 20 years before diagnosis. So people need to be aware of what's going on with their parents, with themselves, and get in early. That's where the hope is.

AMANPOUR: Now, you -- your term, your husband's term is coming up. You will not be in the California governor's mansion.

SHRIVER: There isn't a governor's mansion, Christiane.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

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