Despite continued advancements in medical technology, the rate of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia in the United States, has been on a steady increase in the past two decades. With an estimated five million Americans affected by this degenerative disease, researchers, doctors and millions of families and caregivers have long been searching for a breakthrough.
In an effort to prevent Alzheimer’s from happening in the first place, Ascension Seton and Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin are collaborating on potentially groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research.
Stopping Alzheimer’s in Its Tracks
Routine screenings for life-threatening diseases like cancer and heart disease are part of many men and women’s regular preventative health care plan. With new research, Ascension Seton and Dell Medical School hope to make similar screenings and preventative treatment available for Alzheimer’s disease as well.
“By studying people with and without these genes and biomarkers, we hope to better understand what makes someone more susceptible to developing cognitive problems,” said study co-principal investigator and neurologist John Bertelson, MD, of Ascension Seton Brain and Spine Institute.
Working in collaboration with Ascension Seton, Dell Med has received a grant of more than $800,000 to participate in a multi-site research program called the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC). The Consortium consists of seven state medical research institutions, all working together to root out the causes of this debilitating disease — and ways to prevent it.
The hope is that by studying the biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers will be able to develop a treatment that could stop the disease from progressing and leading to dementia.
Another key aspect of this research will focus on finding ways to improve care for the millions of men and women suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, as well as provide education and support for their families. By promoting brain health earlier on, it may be possible to begin treating dementia sooner and therefore reducing the incidence of health crises related to Alzheimer’s.
The project’s funding is provided by the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium by the Darrell K. Royal Texas Alzheimer’s Initiative, directed by the Texas Council on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders.