The National Institutes of Health has targeted 2025 as the year we will have effective diagnostics and treatments for Alzheimer’s.

8 ways to help find answers for Alzheimer’s

World Alzheimer’s Day is Sept. 21; here’s what you can do to help Arizona State University scientists address and arrest the disease

By Dianne Price

Boost research by neuroscientists

The Charlene and J. Orin Edson Initiative for Dementia Care and Solutions: In March 2019, Charlene and J. Orin Edson made a significant gift to Arizona State University to help scientists help us get ahead of the challenges that Alzheimer’s presents. The Edson gift is supporting research at the ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center at the Biodesign Institute, where a team of world-class scientists are already making new discoveries — knowledge that is making inroads into the tough questions that have long stood in the way of finding the answers we need.

Advance education in dementia care and caregiving

The Dementia Translational Science Initiative: The mission of the Dementia Translational Science Initiative at Edson College is to advance cutting-edge research that enhances the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as their family caregivers. The initiative will bring together fellow researchers and community partners who represent the diverse communities of Arizona, our nation and the world.

The Simulation and Learning Resource Center at the Mercado on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus provides a clinical simulation experience to future nurses and caregivers. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Caregivers need better tools

Sun Devil Caregiver Academy: Aimed at translating research into application, the Sun Devil Caregiver Academy was recently launched to gain a stronger understanding of what family caregivers and professionals need to better navigate the Alzheimer’s journey — both for themselves and their patient. A strong focus is being placed on identifying opportunities posed by new technologies to create tools that will help ease the challenges faced by caregivers who are housebound, employed or live in rural areas.

The journey of Alzheimer’s disease is unpredictable, baffling, a loss for the sufferer, painful for the family — yet can offer unexpected gifts. So, too, there have been insights and advances to better understand the disease and provide better care.

Inspire the next generation of scientists

Banner-ASU Neuroscience Scholars: Banner-ASU Neuroscience Scholars is a paid, eight-week training program open to top-achieving college undergraduate and graduate science students. Scholars work full time on a research project under the mentorship of a Banner Research or ASU-Biodesign scientist to unlock medical and scientific mysteries in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, in a lab setting in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Find out more about how to become a neuroscience scholar.

Place the focus on women’s health

Bimonte-Nelson Behavioral Neuroscience of Memory and Aging laboratory at ASU: Did you know that nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women — and two-thirds of the more than 15 million caregivers in the U.S. are women? At the Bimonte-Nelson Behavioral Neuroscience of Memory and Aging laboratory at ASU, researchers are working to understand, and discover new treatments for, memory and brain changes that occur with menopause and aging. Research includes factors relevant to Alzheimer’s disease-related variables. Dr. Heather Bimonte-Nelson and her students are seeking to identify new approaches to protect the brain and cognition against age- and neurodegenerative-related changes so that women can have the highest quality of life possible.

Heather Bimonte-Nelson describes her approach to critical thinking as encouraging her students to take a 30,000-foot view. She encourages her students to look at the jigsaw puzzle pieces — the hormones, their interactions and brain connections — all together. In 2018, she was named Bioscience Educator of the Year.

Donate your brain and body for research

Banner Health Brain and Body Donation Program: The Brain and Body Donation Program (BBDP) is a study of the health and diseases of elderly volunteers who live in metropolitan Phoenix. Researchers study the volunteer’s function during life and their organs and tissue after death. The program provides tissue, biomaterials and biospecimens to qualified researchers at Arizona’s universities and worldwide.

Help spark new thinking as it relates to old age

The Center for Innovation in Healthy & Resilient Aging: ASU’s new center will bring together the best and the brightest to address issues — from the personal to policies — that affect aging individuals and society. Faculty, staff and students participate in two-way research and knowledge transfer that helps the university community, its partners and the communities we serve better understand and address aging issues.

As soon as 2030, for the first time in America’s history, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18. ASU has launched the Center for Innovation in Healthy and Resilient Aging with an eye toward caring for an aging population.

Kindle collaboration

Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium: The Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium is the nation’s role model for statewide collaboration in Alzheimer’s disease research. The consortium capitalizes on its participating institutions’ complementary strengths in brain imaging computer science, genomics, the basic and cognitive neurosciences and clinical and neuropathology research to promote the scientific understanding and early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and find effective disease-stopping and prevention therapies. It also seeks to educate Arizona residents about Alzheimer’s disease, research progress in the state and the resources needed to help patients, families and professionals manage the disease. The Consortium’s goal is to find effective treatments in the next 12 years to halt the progression and prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Together, we can find new answers

Chances are that you or someone you love will face the struggles that come with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, by 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to reach 7.1 million people, a staggering 27% increase from the 5.6 million age 65 and older in 2019.

About ASU Foundation

The foundation, a subsidiary of ASU Enterprise Partners, is a private, nonprofit organization that raises and invests private contributions to Arizona State University. It is one of Arizona’s oldest nonprofits.

Official Medium account of ASU. № 1 in innovation. Top 10 of all universities worldwide for U.S. patents awarded. Find more ASU news at asunow.

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