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New Department of Defense program to fund Alzheimer's research

New Department of Defense program to fund Alzheimer's research
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April 14, 2011
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New Department of Defense program to fund Alzheimer's research

As the leading voluntary health organization advocating for Alzheimer's care, support and research, the Alzheimer's Association is pleased that Congress has authorized a $15 million investment to be provided to the Department of Defense's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) to create an Alzheimer's Research Grant Program. The program will provide grants for research that will explore the causes, complications and potential treatments associated with Alzheimer's disease, particularly among those in the military.

The funding will be used to create a peer-reviewed research grant program portfolio which will include traumatic brain injury (TBI), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other research areas. The Alzheimer's Association joined US Against Alzheimer's in support of the creation of this very important program which will make a significant contribution to greater understanding about Alzheimer's.

Today, an estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and that number is expected to climb to 16 million by mid-century without the discovery of disease modifying treatments that prevent, cure or slow disease progression. According to the Alzheimer's Association's 2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report, moderate and severe head trauma, head injury and traumatic brain injury are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

"We urgently need research that will provide us with a greater understanding of Alzheimer's as well as its impact on current and future military populations. This program is a great step toward achieving that understanding and the progress it will unlock," said Robert Egge, vice president of public policy for the Alzheimer's Association.

Currently the sixth-leading cause of death, Alzheimer's disease is the only cause of death among the top 10 causes without a way prevent, cure or even slow its progression. The need for a greater commitment to research efforts, with endeavors such as the Alzheimer's Research Grant Program within the Defense Department is a step in the right direction. It will help to foster the development of innovative research that will hopefully translate to greater understanding of Alzheimer's and its impact on the military community.

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