"It's so painful for someone you care about to see them disappear, in effect, before your eyes in every way, both mentally and physically. Very depressing," O'Connor told ABC News' Jan Crawford Greenburg in an exclusive interview before the hearing.
Urging the need for more research and funding for the disease, O'Connor spoke to lawmakers about the reluctance and fear many families dealing with Alzheimer's face. She said her own sons do not want to be tested for fear of insurance issues and the dire prognosis that currently faces those afflicted with the disease.
Medications currently on the market do not stop the progression of Alzheimer's but rather treat or delay its symptoms. Researchers said some drugs currently under study, which work by curbing the progression of A-beta in the brain, hold promise for slowing the disease's acceleration.