Gingrich reckons Alzheimer's could cost $20 trillion.

Now, 1 trillion already sounds high, but 20 trillion - really? That's more than the annual GDP of the US. Throwing big numbers around just goes to show there needs to be some more analytical rigor applied to the debate. Until then, these amounts won't stick.

NIHs Collins told a Senate appropriations subcommittee that theres a "very frightening cost curve." In 2050, when more than 13 million Americans are projected to have Alzheimers, the bill is expected to reach a staggering $1 trillion. But he said that cost could be halved merely by finding a way to delay people getting Alzheimers by five years.Monday, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich jumped into the debate, saying that over the next four decades Alzheimers could cost the government a total of $20 trillion. He suggested selling U.S. bonds to raise money for research rather than have the disease compete each year for a share of the federal budget.

via The Associated Press: How to square budget cuts, need for aging research.