dementia

Dear Research Advocate: The government is now in its sixth day of a partial shutdown that has left agencies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) without the necessary resources to conduct their critical, multi-faceted work. Negotiations between the Congress and the White House reportedly remain at a stalemate. Last year, when the House and Senate voted to end a weeklong shutdown, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said he hoped everyone could remember that "brinksmanship and hostage-taking do not work. They make bipartisan progress harder – not easier – to achieve." Let’s face it: no one is heeding that lesson now. The path that will truly...
As America’s aging population increases, so too do concerns about the cognitive health of our nation’s seniors. Promoting and protecting the brain health of all Americans is a cornerstone of the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission. This year we are launching an ambitious research effort to better understand steps seniors can take to improve brain health and reduce their risk of cognitive decline. The Alzheimer's Association U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER) is a two-year clinical trial to evaluate whether lifestyle interventions that simultaneously target many risk factors protect cognitive function in older adults who are at...
Terrifying news accounts of recent deaths from Ebola, flesh-eating bacteria, HIV/AIDS, Zika and even the plague can give the misleading impression that we are at greater risk than ever. But we are fortunate to live in a time when—thanks to scientific advances that have produced lifesaving vaccines and treatments—we can actually begin to imagine a disease-free world. It’s appropriate for us on Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD) to acknowledge the commitment of scientists around the globe who work tirelessly, often under difficult and dangerous circumstances, to solve the world’s most pressing health problems. As we have all been reminded, diseases know no borders so it’s important that we...
Despite the best efforts of scientists and researchers, clinical trials on Alzheimer’s therapies have had a 99% failure rate and it has been 14 years since the Food and Drug Administration approved any Alzheimer’s-related medication. Like millions of others whose families are personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease, I am increasingly concerned that the medical, scientific, and advocacy communities are disproportionately focused on the hope that a blockbuster drug will suddenly emerge from a biopharmaceutical laboratory. This is not to say that increased investments in research should not be our foremost priority. NIH funding for Alzheimer’s-related research still lags well behind the...
Dear Research Advocate: During a visit to the University of Michigan last week, I learned about an important new initiative that empowers faculty to take a more active role in public engagement. An explicit goal is to convey the return on taxpayer investment in the university, very much including the return on research conducted there. The initiative is timely and important, designed to help address signs of public disenchantment with academia by demonstrating its relevance and accountability to the public. Kudos to U of M President Mark Schlissel for his leadership. Last week, panelists at our Capitol Hill briefing engaged on the need for increased investment in Alzheimer’s disease...
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) has released the report, “Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward” which found that current evidence does not support education campaigns encouraging the adoption of specific interventions to prevent mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. The committee, chaired by Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Research!America board member, conducted an extensive scientific review to provide recommendations for public health messaging and future research. Commissioned by the National Institute on Aging, the committee cited “encouraging...
The United Kingdom recently announced a plan that will capitalize on its role as President of the G8 to promote an international cooperation to stop dementia. This announcement sparks the beginning of increased international collaboration among world governments, industry and non-governmental organizations. Representatives of these diverse entities will gather at an upcoming dementia summit in London, scheduled for September. The global impact of dementia and Alzheimer’€™s is undeniable’€”over 35.6 million people worldwide battle with dementia. With the aging global population, this figure is predicted to exceed 110 million people by 2050. George Vradenburg, chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer...

Sidebar Quote

If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana