Today, the Alzheimer’s Association, Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), and the UK-based Alzheimer’s Society announced the latest recipients of the Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders, a competitive funding program for emerging leaders in brain health and dementia.
“The Alzheimer’s Association shares the commitment to developing the next generation of global leaders working to address dementia,” said Heather Snyder, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relations. “These pilot projects will advance scientific knowledge in the effort to detect, diagnose, delay or prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementias, as well improve care and quality of life for people around the world living with this disease and their caregivers.”
Supporting Diagnosis, Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations
The 23 awards will support projects that address disparities in dementia diagnosis, treatment, and care for vulnerable populations across the world. They span 14 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Mongolia, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
Though there is no cure for dementia, up to 40% of cases could be prevented by public health and lifestyle interventions. Of the 50 million people affected by dementia worldwide, the highest toll is experienced by at-risk and disadvantaged populations.
“Dementia is intensified by the same social determinants that contribute to physical health problems,” said Lea T. Grinberg, MD, PhD, Executive Board Member of GBHI and Professor of Neurology and Pathology at University of California, San Francisco. “We have the potential to prevent millions of cases by addressing modifiable risk factors and building brain health.”
This year, several projects focus on dementia in marginalized groups. For instance, a study in the United States will consider the impact of race and gender-based stress on the cognitive health of Black American women; another in Canada will consider traumatic brain injury from the lens of biological sex and socially constructed gender; and another in Colombia will consider the the role of prolonged exposure to violence on brain health.
Others explore the key role of nature and space for people living with dementia, including a project in Nigeria that will use gardening, art, and social interaction to promote brain health; another in the United States that will offer nature and artmaking excursions for people living with dementia; and a project in Ireland that maps brain imaging technology onto stained glass for a participant’s home environment.
The challenging yet crucial task of early and accurate dementia diagnosis is even more difficult for underserved communities. Several projects aim to improve this, including a project in Turkey that will develop screening tools for psychiatric patients; another in Mongolia that aims to standardize screening and detection of dementia in primary care settings; and a further project in Ethiopia that will adapt a brief computerized cognitive testing tool for use in primary care settings.
Early Indicators of Success
The total funding of approximately $575,000 (£479,000, €555,000) includes about $25,000 (£21,000, €24,000) for each individual award to enable the recipients to test an approach and then, if successful, seek further resources to scale up their work.
The 23 awardees will join 114 previously funded pilots in 41 countries, bringing the total awarded to date to $3.4 million. Over the past six years, awardees have leveraged their projects for an additional $2.1 million investment directly related to their pilot projects. The visionary work of the awardees has led to a total of more than $67 million to further advancements of dementia-related resources.
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®. For more information, visit http://www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.
Global Brain Health Institute
The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) is a leader in the global community dedicated to protecting the world's aging populations from threats to brain health.
GBHI works to reduce the scale and impact of dementia in three ways: by training and connecting the next generation of leaders in brain health through the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program; by collaborating in expanding preventions and interventions; and by sharing knowledge and engaging in advocacy.
We strive to improve brain health for populations across the world, reaching into local communities and across our global network. GBHI brings together a powerful mix of disciplines, professions, backgrounds, skills, perspectives, and approaches to develop new science-based solutions. We focus on working compassionately with all people including those in vulnerable and under-served populations to improve outcomes and promote dignity for all people.
GBHI is based at the University of California, San Francisco, and Trinity College Dublin. Visit http://www.gbhi.org or find us on Twitter @GBHI_Fellows.
Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The mission of Alzheimer's Society is to transform the landscape of dementia forever. Until the day we find a cure, we will strive to create a society where those affected by dementia are supported and accepted, able to live in their community without fear or prejudice.
Alzheimer's Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk. Alzheimer's Society provides the Dementia Connect support line, the number is 0333 150 3456.