Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders awarded to encourage innovative dementia research

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Today, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), and the UK-based Alzheimer’s Society announced the most recent awardees of the Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders, a competitive funding initiative dedicated to fostering efforts and improving outcomes in the fields. Brain health and dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association is proud to partner with GBHI and the Alzheimer’s Society to create this innovative grant. These awards focus on understanding risk and resilience for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The aim is to support the awardees’ efforts to raise awareness, delay, prevent and reduce the impact of dementia.”

Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relations

“The emphasis is on low- and middle-income communities, where the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is predicted to be highest, and on projects that use an evidence-based approach to improve care and outcomes around age-related cognitive loss and dementia,” Snyder added.

Fostering brain health for the vulnerable

A total of 26 awards were made to projects aimed at filling gaps in dementia diagnosis, treatment and care among underserved populations worldwide. Projects span 16 countries including Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, South Korea, UK and USA.

Although there is currently no cure for dementia, we know that up to 40% of cases are caused by modifiable risk factors that may be addressable through public health and lifestyle interventions, according to the Lancet Commission on Dementia. Of the 50 million people with dementia worldwide, vulnerable and disadvantaged populations are most affected.

“Pilot projects address brain health equity by testing or implementing interventions or other strategies that are tailored to where awardees work and to their unique interests and strengths,” said Kate Possin, PhD, GBHI faculty member and professor of neurology at the University of California, Berkeley. San Francisco.

Addressing stigma, training and the social determinants of health

This year, several projects focus on the power of storytelling to reduce stigma and empower people living with dementia. For example, one project aimed to create a non-fiction podcast in Medellin, Colombia, about a 500-year-long case of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, focusing on a family with a unique genetic mutation linked to the disease and its potential for preventing neurodegeneration. . Another project in Brazil plans to produce a documentary to highlight the challenges of social isolation, loneliness and more for people living with dementia, while a UK-based effort seeks to create dramatic monologues to be performed on stage and captured on inspired film. by different dementia subtypes.

Although most dementia cases occur in low- and middle-income countries, dementia risk reduction initiatives are limited in these regions. Several projects faced obstacles associated with training, including one focused on educating health educators in dementia risk reduction in Nigeria and another on developing a culturally sensitive, competition-based dementia training program for primary health care workers in Ethiopia.

Recognizing the profound impact of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) on cognitive well-being and dementia risk in older adults, several projects investigate these issues. Among them, a project in Mexico explored the relationship between diet and brain health, a South Korean effort investigated the effects of SDOH on brain health, and a project in the Democratic Republic of Congo examined the link between multidimensional poverty and cognitive function.

“One in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime. Research will beat dementia; it’s critical that we invest now in innovative research to address the most complex challenges of the future,” said Richard Oakley, PhD, associate director of research and innovation at the Alzheimer’s Society. “By supporting initiatives like this, Alzheimer’s Society can continue to provide hope for the future while transforming lives today – helping to ensure people with dementia can access diagnosis, treatment and support, so they can live independent and fulfilling lives for as long as possible. can do “

Early indicators of success

Total funding of approximately $650,000 (£530,000, €614,000) includes approximately $25,000 (£20,000, €24,000) for each individual award to enable recipients—who are all Atlantic Fellows for Equity and Brain—to pursue successful health screenings thereafter. If so, find more resources to enhance their work.

The 26 awardees will join 137 previously funded pilots in 42 countries, bringing the total awarded to date in 45 countries to $4.1 million. Since the program’s launch, awardees have leveraged their projects to invest an additional $16.1 million directly related to their pilot projects. The awardees’ visionary work has garnered more than $93.5 million in total to further the advancement of dementia-related resources.

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