HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The proposed creation of a statewide panel on Alzheimer’s disease has been approved by the state House of Representatives.

The measure approved Monday would set up a 23-member Alzheimer’s Disease State Planning Committee chaired by the state secretary of aging.

Rep. Katharine Watson, a Bucks County Republican and the bill’s chief sponsor, says the panel would develop a strategy for dealing with an expected increase in the number of people with Alzheimer’s.

Watson says Pennsylvania ranks fourth nationally in the number of residents aged 65 or older. She says 280,000 Pennsylvanians are currently living with the disease.

The bill awaits action by the state Senate.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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