A national Alzheimer's strategy is needed to better co-ordinate research, treatment and prevention for the costly and mind-robbing disease, doctors and scientists say.

Co-ordinating the efforts of researchers across Canada could speed up advances, said Dr. Aristotle Voineskos, a physician and investigator at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

"We need long-term strategies," said Voineskos, who published his genetic findings on who may be at risk for developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease in February in the Archives of General Psychiatry. "That's crucial for good scientific research."

The Alzheimer Society of Canada has long called on the federal government to develop a national strategy to co-ordinate research, prevention and treatment programs. Legislators in the U.S. and England recently approved such national plans, the society said.

The society applauded when Conservative MP James Rajotte's motion calling on the federal government to "address the rising financial and human costs of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in Canada" passed unanimously in the House last December.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has shown she is hesitant to endorse this national strategy.

"Our government has made significant investments in the area of research on dementia," Aglukkaq said, including an additional $8.6 million for Alzheimer's research that she announced in January.

With files from CBC's Philip Lee-Shanok