NIH supports new studies to find Alzheimer’s biomarkers in Down syndrome

The National Institutes of Health has launched a new initiative to identify biomarkers and track the progression of Alzheimer’s in people with Down syndrome. Many people with Down syndrome have Alzheimer’s-related brain changes in their 30s that can lead to dementia in their 50s and 60s. Little is known about how the disease progresses in this vulnerable group.

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Imagine having access to more than 100 measures that can be used as a common currency across diverse study designs and settings. And, imagine being able to access this system through a tablet computer. You don’t have to imagine all this, because it exists and is available in the NIH Toolbox®.


In May 2015, the NIA released RFA-16-009, “Collaborative Networks to Advance Delirium Research.” In this post, Dr. Susan Zieman from the NIA Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology and I want to let you know that this is an important area for research, as we seek to address key questions for this difficult and frightening issue for patients and families.


Our nation is focused as never before on investing resources—in time, talent, and treasure—to find effective treatments for this devastating disorder called Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In the past two weeks, we have posted a series of 10 program announcements focused on AD research, which could be funded starting in fiscal year 2016. These program announcements have set-aside funds associated with them, and will be supported according to the availability of funds in FY 2016 through FY 2019.


Everyone who is anyone is going to be at the National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA), including many of NIA’s senior and program staff. If you want the most up-to-date information on NIA’s budget and funding, scientific program activities, and research highlights, tune in and join us for the National Advisory Council on Aging meeting tomorrow morning.


2015 Alzheimer's & Related Dementias Webinar Series for Professionals

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Mixed pathologies likely cause dementia in the oldest-old

The brains of people who live to age 90 and older—the oldest-old—usually have a mix of pathologies associated with dementia. Alzheimer’s disease-related brain changes are the most common, but other pathologies often found at autopsy include infarcts, Lewy bodies, hippocampal sclerosis, and white-matter disease. For the first time, researchers examined the relationship between the number of pathologies found at autopsy and the severity of dementia in the oldest-old.

Just last week, I had the honor of presenting, on behalf of NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, the first-ever NIH Professional Judgment Budget for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Outlined at the July 27 meeting of the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, the proposal—commonly referred to as a Bypass Budget—lays out NIH’s plan to speed discovery into these devastating disorders, aimed at meeting the research goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease—to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.


We will be posting a new pay line for Alzheimer’s research, and I want to alert you to two important facts around it.

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