June, 2017

News from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America
Washington Updates:
Next Generation of Researchers Initiative
After significant community/stakeholder input, NIH has chosen to shift away from the proposed NIH Grant Support Index
NIH Will continue to focus on recruiting and retaining an outstanding and diverse research workforce by implementing a new plan called the Next Generation of Researchers Initiative (NGRI) as an alternative method to strengthen the biomedical research enterprise.  The NGRI will involve a redistribution of dollars to ensure funding for meritorious early-stage and mid-career investigators. 

Through the NGRI, NIH aims to reach the 25% percentile payline early stage researchers. NGRI may have less immediate impact at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) because NIA already is above that percentile (due to the targeted Alzheimer's research appropriations from Congress over the past several years).
If NIH funding declines dramatically as proposed in the President's FY 2018 budget plan, NGRI could be suspended and the payline across NIH (including at NIA) likely would fall significantly. Alternatively, if the LEAD Coalition community and other advocates are successful in persuading Congress to boost overall NIH funding and dementia research in particular, NIA would be in a position to go above the NGRI target and current payline for young researchers as long as the scientific merit remained strong.


Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Congressman Chris Smith Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Confront the Challenges of Alzheimer's Disease
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, introduced the Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Act and the Alzheimer's Research Semipostal Stamp Act in recognition of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month.  These two bipartisan bills have more than 50 original cosponsors and were endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

"Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and it has reached crisis proportions," said Congresswoman Waters.  "There is no effective treatment, no means of prevention, and no method fo
Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
r slowing the progression of the disease." 

All of us know a friend of family member who are among the 5.5 million Americans who suffer the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. Congress must continually pursue a full court press to support research, raise awareness and support those currently living with, or caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease.  The legislation we introduce today seeks to increase NIH funding for Alzheimer's research and ensure caregivers have access to the training and resources they need to provide effective care-as we continue work towards prevention, treatment and, hopefully, a cure," said Congressman Smith.
The Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Act (H.R. 2972) authorizes grants to public and non-profit organizations to expand training and support services for families, and caregivers, of patients with Alzheimer's disease.
"More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care to family and friends living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias," said Congresswoman Waters.

Congressman Chris Smith
 "The Alzheim er's Caregiver Support Act will improve the ability of caregivers to provide effective and compassionate care and will allow more Alzheimer's patients to remain in their homes with people who love them." 

The Alzheimer's Research Semipostal Stamp Act (H.R. 2973) requires the U.S. Postal Service to issue and sell a semipostal stamp, with the proceeds helping to fund Alzheimer's disease research at the National Institutes of Health.  The bill is modeled on the popular and successful Breast Cancer Research Semipostal Stamp.
"The Alzheimer's Research Semipostal Stamp Act will raise public awareness about Alzheimer's and encourage individuals to make voluntary contributions to research efforts," said  Congresswoman Waters.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's disease in the year 2013, and this number is expected to almost triple to 14 million by the year 2050.  The Alzheimer's Association calculated that caregivers provided more than 18 billion hours of unpaid care for people with dementia in 2016, at an estimated value of over $230 billion. Compared with caregivers for people without dementia, twice as many caregivers for people with dementia indicate substantial emotional, financial and physical stress.
"Together, these two bipartisan bills will assist Alzheimer's patients and their families; promote public awareness of Alzheimer's disease; and encourage voluntary contributions to research efforts," said Congresswoman Waters.




Researchers Discover What May Be Earliest Stage of Alzheimer's Disease

The Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California released a report which indicated that older adults with elevated levels of brain-clogging plaques -- but otherwise normal cognition -- experience faster mental decline suggestive of Alzheimer's disease
Just about all researchers see amyloid plaques as a risk factor for Alzheimer's.
However, this study presents the toxic, sticky protein as part of the disease -- the earliest precursor before symptoms arise.
"To have the greatest impact on the disease, we need to intervene against amyloid, the basic molecular cause, as early as possible," said Paul Aisen, senior author of the study and director of the USC Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI) at the Keck School of Medicine. "This study is a significant step toward the idea that elevated amyloid levels are an early stage of Alzheimer's, an appropriate stage for anti-amyloid therapy."
Notably, the incubation period with elevated amyloid plaques -- the asymptomatic stage -- can last longer than the dementia stage.
"This study is trying to support the concept that the disease starts before symptoms, which lays the groundwork for conducting early interventions," said Michael Donohue, lead author of the study and an associate professor of neurology at USC ATRI.
The researchers likened amyloid plaque in the brain to cholesterol in the blood. Both are warning signs with few outward manifestations until a catastrophic event occurs. Treating the symptoms can fend off the resulting malady -- Alzheimer's or a heart attack -- the effects of which may be irreversible and too late to treat.
"We've learned that intervening before the heart attack is a much more powerful approach to treating the problem," Donohue said.
Aisen, Donohue and others hope that removing amyloid at the preclinical stage will slow the onset of Alzheimer's or even stop it.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Awards $25,000 in AFA Teens for Alzheimer's Awareness College Scholarship Competition
"Seeing him struggle with everyday life was hard. Watching him struggle to find a word or try to remember something he once knew. My father evolved into a pale facsimile of who he had been. One minute he was doing something with purpose, and in the next minute, he couldn't remember what it was he was doing," recalled Kyra Carbone, 18, of her father's battle with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Her winning essay earned her the grand prize-a $5,000 scholarship-in the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's (AFA) annual AFA Teens for Alzheimer's Awareness college scholarship competition. AFA awarded a total of $25,000 in scholarship money this year, the largest amount awarded in the history of AFA's program, which started in 2008.
Grand-prize winner, Kyra Carbone
More than 3,000 college-bound seniors entered the competition, which asks teens to describe how Alzheimer's disease has impacted their lives and what they've learned about themselves and their families in the face of this disease. The essays challenged their knowledge of the disease, and also asked what they are doing to make a difference. The heartfelt stories shared the emotions, challenges and triumphs of caregiving, whether for a loved one or someone met through volunteering.

AFA awarded a total of 24 scholarships to teens in 15 states. In addition to Carbone, this year's winners are: first runner-up, Mary Chasen, 18, of Babylon, N.Y.; second runners-up, Damita Gomez, 17, of Lakewood, Wash.; and Julia House, 18, of Blackstone, Mass.; third runners-up, Emily DiMartino, 18, of Chicago, Ill..; and Aaron B. Smith, 18, of North Augusta, S.C.; fourth runners-up, Rachel Sinclair, 18, of Spotsylvania, Va; Bartolomeo Voto, 17, of Manhasset, N.Y.; Brooks Threatt, 18, of Clinton, S.C.; Taylor Ebben, 17, of Greenville, Wis.; Sarah Huber, 18, of Davenport, Iowa; Danielle Lawson, 17, of Athens, Ill.; Robert Emerson Schreck, 18, of Hummelstown, Pa; Kaitlin Morris, 18, of Port Washington, N.Y.; Madison Danovsky, 17, Maple Grove, Minn.; and Katherine Perry, 17, of Hilliard, Ohio; and honorable mentions, Amanda Marie Linehan, 19, of Newburyport, Mass.; Lauren Evans, 18, of Rochester, Minn.; Allison Berger, 17, of Harrisburg, N.C.; Kathryn Haran, 17, of Incline Village, Nev.; Laine Wood, 17, of Chico, Calif.; Nicole Carroll, 18, of Spotswood, N.J.; Jaime Lewis, 18, of Normal, Ill.; and Lina Petrossian, 18, of Glendale, Calif.
The first runner-up won a $3,500 scholarship. The second runners-up received $1,500; the third runners-up received $1,000; the fifth place winners each received $750; and the honorable mentions received $500 scholarships.
News to Use
AFA's Care Connection Webinar:  When It's Time to Move to a Care Community - and What to do Next

This webinar will focus on transitions.  Most people are not sure when it is the best time to move a loved one into a care community.  This topic will be discussed, as well as how to choose a community, how to make that transition, and then, what to do from there.  Learn how to best partner in care with the individuals we care for.  The webinar will also talk about the feelings you may have surrounding this move, and how to cope.  
Join us July 13, from 1-2 p.m. ET. for Care Connection, our free monthly educational webinar. 
Click here for more information or to register. 

Kmart Expands Partnership with AFA to Raise Awareness of Alzheimer's and Provide Memory Screenings

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) and Kmart Pharmacy have strengthened and expanded their partnership in 2017 as Kmart Pharmacy conducted more than 11,000 free memory screenings in all of their locations throughout the country and Puerto Rico during "Older Americans Month" in May. In addition, just as they did last year, Kmart will again conduct memory screenings in November during Alzheimer's Awareness Month.

The initiative encourages people to take a proactive approach to brain health. More than 4,500 people were screened across the nation and in Puerto Rico last November in Kmart stores during Alzheimer's Awareness Month.

Kmart is also a community sponsor for AFA's 2017 Educating America Tour. In celebrating its 15th anniversary, AFA has embarked on an educational tour this year, across 15 states, with the goal of helping people become more proactive about brain health and memory concerns. Each tour stop will include an educational conference for family and professional caregivers, individuals with dementia, and the community, featuring dementia and caregiving experts, and free, confidential memory screenings.

AFA works with thousands of sites across the country, year-round, to offer screenings. For more information, visit . To find a local Kmart Pharmacy, visit .

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