Researcher Granted Award to Study Alzheimer's Disease in Women

Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, was granted $10.3 million to determine why women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The National Institutes of Health has recently awarded Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, and her team from the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona to conduct Alzheimer’s disease research.

The award grants $10.3 million for a 5-year project grant to explore Alzheimer’s disease among women. In 2016, more than 3 million of the 5 million individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease were women. Additionally, women who are over 60-years-old are twice as likely to develop this disease compared with breast cancer, according to the university’s press release.

At 65-years-old, men have a 1 in 11 chance of developing the disease, while women the same age have a 1 in 6 chance, but the reasons behind this discrepancy are largely unknown.

“The greatest risk factors for Alzheimer's are age, the female sex, and genetics, specifically the APOE4 gene,” Dr Brinton said. “Women constitute more than 60% of those with Alzheimer's disease, and more than 50% of persons with Alzheimer's are positive for the APOE4 gene. If positive for a single copy of the APOE4 gene, women are at greater risk than men who have 2 copies of the APOE4 gene.”

Alzheimer’s disease is 1 of the top 10 causes of death in the United States. It is also the only one that cannot be effectively treated or prevented. Dr Brinton and her colleagues hope to uncover more about the disease through their research, especially when it comes to disease prevalence in women.

“Our 'Perimenopause in Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Disease' program project will build on our discovery of the biological transformations in the brain that occur during perimenopause, a neuroendocrine transition unique to women. These transformations can lead to changes that can put the brain at risk for Alzheimer's disease,” Dr Brinton said. “Our goals are to discover the mechanisms underlying the heightened risk of Alzheimer's in APOE4-positive females, and to translate these discoveries into strategies and therapeutics to alleviate a woman's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.”

The duration of the disease adds significant financial burden on the healthcare system and family members of the patient. With no cure, patients are likely to receive costly long-term care, as well as receiving treatment with certain drugs to alleviate symptoms.

The most recent award is the most competitive award funded by the National Institutes of Health, according to the University of Arizona. These collaborative research programs are intended to fund studies that will eventually lead to more effective treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Brinton also won a Sex and Gender in Alzheimer’s grant of $249,000 from the Alzheimer’s Association to determine the link between APOE4 and the development of the disease in both men and women. Additionally, she will also test the efficacy of allopregnanolone to prevent the loss of myelin in the brain, which has also been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the University.

“Alzheimer's is a devastating disease that impacts everyone, from the patient to the families who care for them, at great cost emotionally and financially. The incidence of Alzheimer's is expected to nearly triple by 2050 if we don't discover ways to prevent or cure this disease," said Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, MD University of Arizona senior vice president for health sciences. “Dr Brinton and her team are at the cutting edge of Alzheimer's research, the aging female brain, and regenerative therapeutics. The impact of their exciting work will result in a better understanding of the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, the development of novel new therapies and — potentially — a cure for women and men patients with this debilitating disease.”

The National Institutes of Health has recently awarded Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, and her team from the Center for Innovation in Brian Science at the University of Arizona to conduct Alzheimer’s disease research.

The award grants $10.3 million for a 5-year project grant explore Alzheimer’s disease among women. In 2016, more than 3 million of the 5 million individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease were women. Additionally, women who are over 60-years-old are twice as likely to develop this disease compared with breast cancer, according to the university’s press release.

At 65-years-old, men have a 1 in 11 chance of developing the disease, while women the same age have a 1 in 6 chance, but the reasons behind this discrepancy are largely unknown.

“The greatest risk factors for Alzheimer's are age, the female sex and genetics, specifically the APOE4 gene,” Dr Brinton said. “Women constitute more than 60% of those with Alzheimer's disease, and more than 50% of persons with Alzheimer's are positive for the APOE4 gene. If positive for a single copy of the APOE4 gene, women are at greater risk than men who have 2 copies of the APOE4 gene.”

Alzheimer’s disease is 1 of the top 10 causes of death in the United States. It is also the only one that cannot be effectively treated or prevented. Dr Brinton and her colleagues hope to uncover more about the disease through their research, especially when it comes to disease prevalence in women.

“Our 'Perimenopause in Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Disease' program project will build on our discovery of the biological transformations in the brain that occur during perimenopause, a neuroendocrine transition unique to women. These transformations can lead to changes that can put the brain at risk for Alzheimer's disease,” Dr Brinton said. “Our goals are to discover the mechanisms underlying the heightened risk of Alzheimer's in APOE4-positive females, and to translate these discoveries into strategies and therapeutics to alleviate a woman's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.”

The duration of the disease adds significant financial burden on the healthcare system and family members of the patient. With no cure, patients are likely to receive costly long-term care, as well as receiving treatment with certain drugs to alleviate symptoms.

The most recent award is the most competitive award funded by the National Institutes of Health, according to the University of Arizona. These collaborative research programs are intended to fund studies that will eventually lead to more effective treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Brinton also won a Sex and Gender in Alzheimer’s grant of $249,000 from the Alzheimer’s Association to determine the link between APOE4 and the development of the disease in both men and women. Additionally, she will also test the efficacy of allopregnanolone to prevent the loss of myelin in the brain, which has also been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the University.

“Alzheimer's is a devastating disease that impacts everyone, from the patient to the families who care for them, at great cost emotionally and financially. The incidence of Alzheimer's is expected to nearly triple by 2050 if we don't discover ways to prevent or cure this disease," said Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, MD University of Arizona senior vice president for health sciences. “Dr Brinton and her team are at the cutting edge of Alzheimer's research, the aging female brain and regenerative therapeutics. The impact of their exciting work will result in a better understanding of the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, the development of novel new therapies and — potentially — a cure for women and men patients with this debilitating disease.” - See more at: http://www.ajpb.com/articles/researcher-granted-award-to-study-alzheimers-disease-in-women#sthash.aQdgqRst.dpuf