Grants Advance BrainHealth Center Alzheimer's Research
Oct. 17, 2011
Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas have been awarded $475,000 to study early cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in hopes of proactively maximizing cognitive potential.
Dr. Sandi Chapman
Dr. John Hart
Dr. Raksha Anand Mudar
“Treatable versus untreatable cognitive decline is one of the greatest public health concerns today,” said Dr. Sandi Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth. “Estimates suggest that Alzheimer’s disease will afflict 15 million Americans by mid-century. Our goal is to discover scientifically demonstrated ways to stave off cognitive decline in at-risk aging populations.”
The RGK Foundation recently awarded Drs. Chapman, Raksha Anand Mudar and John Hart $250,000, which will receive $125,000 in matching funds through the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP) for a total of $375,000. The funding will be used to expand efforts to identify brain biomarkers that have the potential to identify mild cognitive impairment early, and to identify brain markers as indices to treatment effectiveness.
“Early detection and aggressive treatment is critical to slow the rate of decline and hopefully stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Greg Kozmetsky, president of the RGK Foundation. “We are continually impressed with the high caliber of research at the Center for BrainHealth; they are proactively addressing and solving some of the most pressing brain related issues that impact us all.”
In addition, the Alzheimer's Association has awarded Dr. Mudar $100,000 over two years under the New Investigator Research Grant (NIRG) for Neural Markers of Subjective Cognitive Impairment. Alzheimer’s Association research grants are made to advance the understanding of Alzheimer's disease, help identify new treatment strategies, provide information to improve care for people with dementia, and further knowledge of brain health and disease prevention.
Dr. Mudar will investigate the effects of normal cognitive aging and brain diseases, including mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and frontotemporal dementia on higher-order semantic functions. She will work closely with Dr. Hart and Dr. Kyle Womack. Audette Rackley, head of special programs at the Center for BrainHealth, will oversee the Dallas-based study.
“I hope to learn more about how the brain rewires itself with cognitive training in normally aging individuals and those with brain diseases,” said Dr. Mudar. “Alzheimer’s has a wide-ranging impact on an individual’s quality of life and dramatically burdens both families and society, emotionally and economically. My research is dedicated to figuring out innovative ways to slow cognitive deterioration to some degree, since even small degrees of brain gain or slowed cognitive decline are likely to have a significant quality-of-life and economic benefit.”
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