NOV 20, 2018 9:20 AM PST

A Major Grant Aims to Improve our Understanding of Age-related Cognitive Decline

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

The American Heart Association has teamed up with the Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment to award the Salk Institute $19.2 million for research. The aim is to improve our understanding of the biology that underlies the decline in cognitive abilities that comes with aging, and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The goal is to study the interplay between five key areas: genes, epigenetics, proteins, inflammation, and metabolism.

“At the Salk Institute, we have devised a completely new way of approaching Alzheimer’s and aging research,” said Salk President Rusty Gage, who holds the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Disease. “With the generous support of The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, the American Heart Association and other philanthropic donors to this initiative, we believe we can make significant progress in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s and other age-related cognitive diseases.”

It’s been thought that Alzheimer’s disease will affect 130 million people by the year 2050 - a growing health crisis. A team of ten Salk scientists will hopefully find ways to diagnose cognitive decline sooner and create therapeutics that can relieve the problem.

“The fact that numerous clinical trials over the past several decades have not yielded effective therapies points to the complex nature of neurodegeneration,” said Professor Susan Kaech, director of Salk’s NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Pathogenesis. “We are grateful for this support, which will help us learn more about the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s and how it affects other cellular processes associated with this disease. We are hopeful this work will lead to the breakthroughs humanity so desperately needs.”

Source: Salk Institute

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