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Study to look at Alzheimer's Risks in African-Americans

Carey Gleason

Carey Gleason's study is one of about 14 recently funded Alzheimer's projects underway at the School of Medicine and Public Health. (Photo by Clint Thayer/Department of Medicine)

Madison, Wisconsin - A large study of Alzheimer’s disease in the African-American community is among those funded in a series of grants awarded to University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) researchers.

 

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Dr. Carey Gleason, associate professor of medicine (geriatrics), is planning to enroll 500 middle-aged African-Americans, who are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as Caucasians.

 

"This is an urgent issue for the African-American community, and why we need to greatly increase the numbers enrolled in our long-term studies of people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s."

 

- Carey Gleason

Her team will evaluate the roles of modifiable risk factors such as cardiovascular disease, neighborhood distress and psychological factors in setting the stage for dementia. She’ll use neuroimaging and biomarkers to track disease development and look for risk factors that people can modify.

 

“We need new strategies to reduce the devastating human and socio-economic toll of Alzheimer’s,” Gleason says. “This is an urgent issue for the African-American community, and why we need to greatly increase the numbers enrolled in our long-term studies of people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.”

 

Gleason’s study, funded by the federal government with $3.8 million over five years, is one of about 14 recently funded Alzheimer’s projects, says Dr. Sanjay Asthana, associate dean for geriatrics at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. He said Alzheimer’s disease research at the school has received $22.8 million in support, most of it federal, with another $4.1 million in awards expected shortly.

 

“This latest infusion of competitive, peer-reviewed grants confirms the outstanding national reputation of our Alzheimer’s research programs,” says Dr. Robert Golden, dean of School of Medicine and Public Health. “Congratulations to Dr. Asthana and his team for compiling such a remarkable series of projects across the entire continuum of basic laboratory research, clinical investigations, and population studies.”

 

Asthana, director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, also holds a five-year center grant of $7.5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for ongoing work. Additional recently funded studies include:

  • $7.1 million over five years from NIH to Dr. Sterling Johnson for neuroimaging of how Alzheimer’s markers develop in the brain

  • $3.6 million over five years from NIH to Dr. Corrine Engelman for studying the genomics and metabolism of Alzheimer’s disease, and how interactions between the two influence brain and cognitive changes in early Alzheimer’s disease

  • $1.9 million over five years from NIH to Dr. Luigi Puglielli for the study of Alzheimer’s disease in the aging brain

  • $440,700 over two years from NIH to Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo to study the roles of genes and exercise in preventing Alzheimer’s

  • $3.2 million over four years from NIH to Dr. Barbara Bendlin over four years from NIH as part of the Alzheimer’s disease Connectome Project, which seeks to map Alzheimer’s in the brain and detect it earlier

  • $165,000 over four years from NIH to Sara Berman for a neuroimaging study to understand whether vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s are the same disease

  • $84,000 for one year from NIH to Susan Flowers Benton to create a health improvement program for elderly African-Americans

  • $100,000 over one year from the American Society of Neuroradiology to Dr. Sterling Johnson for neuroimaging of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s markers

  • $200,000 over two years from American Federation for Aging Research to Dr. Rozalyn Anderson to study the metabolism of the aging brain

  • $347,000 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School to Sterling Johnson to create a molecular atlas of Alzheimer’s disease stages

  • $70,000 from NIH to Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo to study health disparities and improve early detection in middle aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s

  • $747,600 from NIH to Drs. Barbara Bendlin and Ruth Benca (University of California-Irvine) to study the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease

  • $994,590 to Drs. Vikas Singh and Sterling Johnson for data analysis aimed at earlier identification of Alzheimer’s disease

Engelman is a member of the Department of Population Health Sciences and Singh is from the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics. The rest of the researchers are members of the Department of Medicine (geriatrics). Most are also affiliated with the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital.



Date Published: 10/03/2016

News tag(s):  researchalzheimer's disease

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Study to look at Alzheimer's Risks in African-Americans

Last updated: 10/06/2016
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