Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is an epidemic. It attacks the brain’s nerve cells, causing memory loss, behavioral changes, confusion, and deterioration of language skills. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, now affecting some 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older at a cost to the nation of $355 billion a year. By 2050, projections show the cost will be more than $1.1 trillion.

Reducing the human and economic price of this disease lies at the heart of work currently under way at Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center (ADC), a national leader in Alzheimer’s research since 1996 and one of 32 NIH-funded Alzheimer’s centers in the United States.

Dozens of ADC researchers are exploring possible genetic risk factors and running clinical trials of diagnostic tests and interventions that may prevent or delay the disease and lead to treatments and a cure. The center recently identified two genes responsible for Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans.

One of the most promising areas of research involves identifying biomarkers that will indicate the presence of the disease. Noninvasive testing with biomarkers opens the possibility of early diagnosis, which would allow treatment before Alzheimer’s damages the brain. “If you can’t diagnose Alzheimer’s, you can’t identify people with the disease and get them into clinical trials, and that’s our best hope for finding a treatment,” says Professor Neil Kowall, the center’s director.

NIH funds much of the basic Alzheimer’s research at the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, but philanthropic support is essential if researchers are to unravel the complexities of the disease.

To learn more about how you can help, please contact the BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine Development team or donate here.

Learn more about BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine’s Alzheimer’s research.