7 Organizations Dedicated To Addressing Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease can have devastating effects, both on the person suffering from it and on the mental health of loved ones and caregivers. Luckily, there are a number of organizations dedicated to spreading awareness, looking for a cure, and improving the lives of people who are affected by dementia. If you're interested in this cause, check out the seven groups listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups Confronting The Causes & Effects Of Alzheimer's

Name Headquarters Location Mission
Alzheimer's and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin Madison, WI Improve the lives of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias and their families
Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer's Disease Washington, DC Mobilize an engaged network of collaborating organizations to focus the nation’s attention on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
Brain Health Registry San Francisco, CA Speed up the discovery of treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, PTSD, and other brain disorders
Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY Integrate basic, clinical, and translational research to better understand the molecular basis of Alzheimer's disease and improve treatment
The Memories Project Atlanta, GA Advocate for Alzheimer’s awareness and for increasing support for family caregivers
ProMIS Neurosciences Toronto, ON Discover and develop antibody therapeutics selectively targeting toxic oligomers implicated in the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases
BrightFocus Foundation Clarksburg, MD Support research to end Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5.5 million Americans, most of them age 65 or older, may have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living. Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles). These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body.

Phases of Medical Research

  1. Basic medical research: Establishes an understanding of the issue and its effects on humans
  2. Preclinical research: Figures out how best to test an experimental treatment or cure
  3. Clinical research: Research is done on real people, under the supervision of physicians in a medical setting

How Close Are We To Curing Alzheimer's?

5 Resources for Memory Enhancement

Name What it Offers
Nelson Dellis Provides consulting and advice on platforms across a variety of media
Be Brain Fit Gives unbiased, evidence-based information about achieving and maintaining brain health and fitness
Art of Memory Online community assisting with techniques such as memory palaces, peg lists, spaced repetition, and advanced mnemonics
Speed Reading/Spd Rdng Teaches a variety of study, learning, and memory techniques, with coaches offering in-house courses and trainings
Mullen Memory Explores habits for efficient learning and the scientific evidence backing them up

The Ways in Which Memories Are Created and Lost

In Depth

Alzheimer's disease can be a devastating struggle, both for the individuals experiencing it and for their loved ones and caregivers. In response to its growing prevalence, many passionate organizations are working to promote awareness, contribute to research seeking a cure, or provide resources to the people impacted. In no particular order, we present seven groups focused on confronting the causes and effects of this daunting illness.

Heading up the list at #1 is the Alzheimer's and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, a regional resource for individuals and families affected by these challenging disorders. They aim to provide up-to-date and accurate help with on causes, symptoms, and preventative techniques, through informational materials as well as educational programs and classes. Examples include their Memory Cafes, which offer venues for socializing and activities designed to stimulate mental function, or Crossing Bridges, a discussion group for those coming to terms with cognitive decline.

ADAW provides a range of options to assist the friends, families, and caregivers of individuals experiencing dementia. They organize numerous support groups for those affected by a loved one's illness, including programs for children such as educational camp outings. They also provide informational seminars regarding particular aspects of Alzheimer's and related diseases. Another important facet of their mission is advocacy, calling for public policies to support caretakers and research. Those wishing to contribute can donate directly, join a fundraising event like the Alzheimer's Walk, or help as volunteers.

ADAW provides a range of options to assist the friends, families, and caregivers of individuals experiencing dementia.

Next in the order at #2 is Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer's Disease, a national coalition of member organizations dedicated to fighting dementia in all its forms. Together they work to shape public policy related to health care and research, calling for better funding and stronger protections for people struggling with these disorders. The group has sponsored numerous legislative efforts, including a major funding increase for the National Institutes of Health, and various bills aimed at providing support to caregivers.

A key focus for the LEAD Coalition is speaking out about the importance of dignity and quality of life for people living with Alzheimer's, or similar illnesses. They strive to fight against the stigma related to aging and cognitive impairment, and to call for respectful and equitable treatment for those undergoing this difficult experience. And they provide information about neurological disorders, including tips on treatment and prevention, as well as essays from experts describing challenges and solutions in combating these illnesses.

Coming in at #3 is the Brain Health Registry, an online observational research project aimed at gathering large amounts of data on neurological functioning. Participants complete questionnaires and assessments, providing researchers with information and enabling them to better track changes in an individual's health, lifestyle, and cognitive function. The aim is to improve scientists' abilities to efficiently identify, assess, and monitor the mental changes associated with aging brains, and the progression of degenerative neurological conditions.

The aim is to improve scientists' abilities to efficiently identify, assess, and monitor the mental changes associated with aging brains, and the progression of degenerative neurological conditions.

Information gathered by the Brain Health Registry has already been used in published academic research, and the organization seeks to continue to expand their impact. They perform outreach to spread the word about developments, and ongoing challenges, in the study of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. They also share informational resources on topics like the impact of meditation and exercise on brain function, or alternative techniques for caregivers. Prospective supporters can help out with donations, or sign up as research participants or study partners.

Entry #4 is the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Taking a comprehensive approach to studying neurological disease and providing care for aging people, this institution houses expert treatment facilities as well as an extensive research program. Patients experiencing cognitive issues can take part in a wide range of clinical trials, which investigate the effects of experimental medications as well as therapeutic tools like music, light, and physical exercise.

The ADRC supports research efforts to clarify the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's, such as a study on the interaction between diabetes and memory sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. Another key initiative is the Brain Tissue Donation Program, working to build a substantial pool of neurological data in support of further research. The Center also provides educational internship opportunities for undergraduates, and clinical cognitive assessments through the Neuropsychological Testing and Evaluation Center. Those interested in supporting the ADRC can make a gift to fund its work.

The Center also provides educational internship opportunities for undergraduates, and clinical cognitive assessments through the Neuropsychological Testing and Evaluation Center.

#5 on the list is The Memories Project. First begun by digital journalist Joy Johnston as a tribute to her father, whom she lost to complications from Alzheimer's, it has grown to serve as a platform for spreading awareness about dementia and advocating for family caregivers. The blog shares information about topics such as health policy, assisting elders with everyday life, and strategies for coping with the emotional toll of caring for a person suffering from cognitive difficulties.

In her writing, Johnston draws on her own experiences of providing end-of-life care for her parents, as well as highlighting broad issues that impact seniors and those who assist them. She has authored several books, including The Reluctant Caregiver, a collection of essays which won a gold medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2018. She also works to provide resources for those who assist the ill and elderly, through her Respite Care Share initiative.

Next up at #6 is ProMIS Neurosciences, a development stage biotechnology company working to develop antibody-based treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. The research of Doctor Neil Cashman, who developed a method for targeting the misfolded proteins that may be at the root of these conditions, forms the basis of the company's scientific work; their computational technologies work to predict features of molecules like amyloid beta, a protein implicated in the progression of Alzheimer's, that may allow for targeting by custom-engineered antibodies.

The research of Doctor Neil Cashman, who developed a method for targeting the misfolded proteins that may be at the root of these conditions, forms the basis of the company's scientific work; their computational technologies work to predict features of molecules like amyloid beta, a protein implicated in the progression of Alzheimer's, that may allow for targeting by custom-engineered antibodies.

ProMIS works to spread awareness about hopeful developments in the science of neurological disease, and promote optimism about the potential for effective therapies. They share presentations and informational resources highlighting key findings in the field, including their discovery of a novel antibody with high binding affinity for the amyloid beta protein. They also present conversations with experts on the science and business of neuropharmacology, through the Saving Minds podcast.

We'll close with #7, BrightFocus Foundation. This nonprofit organization supports research aimed at curing Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma, providing tens of millions in grants each year for scientists seeking new approaches to combating these illnesses. They also offer signature Fast Track workshops which allow emerging researchers to immerse themselves in the cutting edge of the field, train in skills like grant writing and presenting, and network with colleagues working on the science of brain and eye diseases.

Along with enabling research into neurological and ocular illnesses, BrightFocus seeks to educate the public, discussing both the relevant science, and key strategies for disease prevention and management. They provide information for those considering participation in clinical trials, answering common questions and outlining the importance of research, as well as sharing news about the latest developments in the field. Scientists interested in contributing to the search for cures can apply for grant funding, and readers who want to help can offer support as donors.