A recent grant will significantly expand Alzheimer’s research Learn how care-based interventions lead the movement.
This past week, officials at the National Institute on Aging (part of the National Institutes of Health) conferred $53.4M in funding for countrywide research into Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment. The endowment was officially granted to Brown University and Hebrew SeniorLife, although the money is designed to benefit institutions across America. “This grant will revolutionize the national infrastructure for research into how care is delivered to people living with dementia and their caregivers,” says Professor Vincent Mor, long-term care expert and co-leader of the initiative. Study contributors will use the funds to first establish IMPACT (NIA Imbedded Pragmatic AD/ADRD Clinical Trials), also referred to as the ‘collaboratory.’ As an incubator for research, the program seeks to unite dementia experts from 30+ institutions under a common goal: improve the lives and outlooks of people living with Alzheimer’s.
Goal #1: non-drug data
Aſter the collaboratory’s formation, researchers plan to pilot as many as 40 trial studies focused on care-based Alzheimer’s interventions. Once data is collected, they will then devise a plan for implementing those strategies in facilities across the nation. As of today, popular non-drug interventions include memory training, orientation exercises, music and animal therapy, as well as special caregiver preparation for patients’ family members. Beyond exploring best practices, experts also plan to create a universal system by which facilities can assess the success of care-based interventions. “It’s time for Alzheimer’s and other dementias to receive the same level of research focus and investment as cancer,” says Louis Woolf, CEO of Hebrew SeniorLife. “We’re proud to collaborate with Brown University to address this national epidemic that affects not only patients, but their families and caregivers.” As U.S. life expectancy continues to climb, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease—today, almost 6 million—is expected to rise. That is, unless researchers and long-term care experts spend more time developing effective pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments. Clearly, the NIA grant is a step in the right direction.