GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s, the neurodegenerative disease with no cure, is the goal of World Alzheimer’s Day.
Groups like the Alzheimer’s Association and East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine are working to further research of this disease, so one day there will be a cure.
In the United States, more than 6 million Americans age 65 and older, have Alzheimer’s dementia. Here in North Carolina, around 180,000 people are living with it, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“We always ask people if they have a brain, and not surprisingly, everyone raises their hand. And the truth of the matter is you may not have a connection to Alzheimer’s or dementia that you know of, but any of us that have a brain have the possibility of developing the disease. And so it is critical that we identify it, not only for our own health, but for our community,” said Christine John-Fuller, communications vice president at the Alzheimer’s Association of North Carolina.
The Alzheimer’s Association said North Carolina-based researchers contributed more than 80 scientific presentations at their conference last summer, furthering the methods of prevention and diagnosis for Alzheimer’s.
“We’re very lucky with the research institutions that we have here in North Carolina. Duke, we have Eastern Carolina University, you have UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, and even Wake Forest, and some of the things they’re looking at are exactly what we’ve talked about,” said John-Fuller.
Just last month, two researchers at the Brody School of Medicine were announced as recipients of the Wooten Family Initiative for Brain Health Research Grant. These grants will aid them in researching neurodegenerative diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s, diseases that share characteristics with Alzheimer’s.
Researchers say this is key. It will let them share drug and treatment plans across the disorder which will in turn help with the rising cases of Alzheimer’s.
“I think in the coming years, as the world population is getting older and older, we will see an increase. We are actually seeing an increase in the incidents of these diseases, so it will be very important for the society as a whole to find a cure, or at least some treatment,” said Dr. Alessandro Didonna, one of the grant recipients.
“So far, we have had very little success. I think because we have only focused on one specific aspect of the overall disease process, but we need to look from multiple angles.”
The Alzheimer’s Association also wanted people to know that they can help and support research by participating in fundraising events such as their Walk to End Alzheimer’s in New Bern on October 22 in New Bern.