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Recent Memory and Aging Program News

See the latest news about Butler Hospital's Memory & Aging Program and how they are working towards a future without Alzheimer's disease through clinical research studies.

2/15/2018 Inside One Couple’s Experimental Treatment to Battle Alzheimer’s Disease - In a multi part series, TIME magazine follows Peter and JoAnn Wooding through their journey to combat Alzheimer's disease. Peter is one of the 2,700 people around the world who are expected to volunteer to test what researchers believe could be the first drug to halt Alzheimer’s. Click here to learn more.


Providence Journal: Brown University receives $56M in gifts to benefit medical research - Brown Chancellor Samuel M. Mencoff and wife Ann S. Mencoff have given Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School $50 million intended to help transform biomedical research into cures and treatments for disease, the university announced on Thursday. A separate, anonymous $6-million gift will specifically advance scholarship and research into Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Click here to learn more.


The Providence Journal: New drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease under study at Butler Hospital - The clinical trial seeks to assess the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of the experimental drug Tauriel in people with early to mild signs of Alzheimer’s, according to the hospital’s Memory and Aging Program. Click here to learn more.


Nature Letter: High Performance Plasma Amyloid-β Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease - To facilitate clinical trials of disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease supportive biomarker information is necessary. The only validated methods for identifying amyloid-β deposition in the brain — the earliest pathological signature of Alzheimer’s disease — are PET scans or cerebrospinal tap. Therefore, a minimally-invasive, cost-effective blood-based biomarker is desirable. The results of this paper demonstrate the potential clinical utility of plasma biomarkers in predicting brain amyloid-β burden at an individual level potentially enabling broader clinical access and efficient population screening. Click here to learn more.



University of Rhode Island: Executive Director of URI’s Ryan Institute receives prestigious honor from national science peers - Paula Grammas, executive director of the University of Rhode Island’s George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of her pioneering research into neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Click here to learn more.



Rhode Island Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association: 2018 Keynote Speaker: Stephen P. Salloway, MD, MS - Dr. Stephen Salloway will be the Keynote speaker at this year's Caregiver's Journey Conference which is open to caregivers and professionals who dedicate their lives to caring for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia's. The conference will include lectures from renowned experts in the field and breakout sessions to provide tools geared toward carrying out the best practices of providing care. Click here to learn more.


Providence Journal: Researchers build ‘citizens army’ in war against Alzheimer’s - Promising new research at Butler Hospital and Brown University begins with a simple swab of the cheek. Dr. Salloway and his team at Butler’s Memory and Aging Program are seeking volunteers to enlist in the so-called Generation Study, for men and women age 60 to 75 who are cognitively normal — but may be at risk, depending on their genetic makeup. They would become the latest recruits in Salloway’s citizen army — which, when all studies and the Butler prevention registry are counted, now numbers more than 800. Click here to learn more.



WLNE Ch. 6: Clinical Trial Tests Pill Aimed at Preventing Alzheimer’s before it starts - A new medication aimed at stopping Alzheimer’s before it even starts is in the works. The drug is being tested through a landmark clinical trial at Butler Hospital in Providence. Click here to learn more.



RI NPR Artscape: Striking a New Cord, Part 2 - "Research shows that learning to use a musical instrument in older age can help protect you against dementia and Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Jessica Alber, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program in Providence. Click here to learn more.



AARP Bulletin: Avoid Alzheimer’s by Understanding Your Risk Factors - You can take preventive measures to preserve your memories, even if you have the Alzheimer's gene, experts say. Click here to learn more.



National Institute on Aging (NIA): New National Institutes of Health consortium award to enhance clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias. - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced a new clinical trials consortium expected to accelerate and expand studies of therapies in Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial Consortium (ACTC) will be lead jointly by research teams from the University of Southern California Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI), San Diego, Harvard- affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston and Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

The ACTC experts and infrastructure will support the design and conduct of trials across the full spectrum of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, from prevention initiatives to combination trials for advanced symptomatic stages. The ACTC will also include a Minority Outreach and Recruitment Team that will enhance and support both central and local partnerships with diverse communities, to include and benefit everyone affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The consortium currently includes 35 sites in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Click here to learn more.


Providence Journal: Butler Hospital begins study of drug to slow or prevent Alzheimer’s disease - Researchers at Brown University-affiliated Butler Hospital began a clinical trial of a new medication that could slow or prevent Alzheimer’s disease among people at genetic risk for the condition. The research group was among the first in the world to start the trial, known as Generation 2, which will be conducted at 185 centers in 25 countries when fully operational. This fight against Alzheimer’s, is being led by Dr. Stephen Salloway, chief Alzheimer’s researcher at Butler, is sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals in partnership with Amgen and Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. Click here to learn more.


New York Times: What if You Knew Alzheimer’s was coming for you? Twenty-five percent to 50 percent of us will show signs of Alzheimer’s by the age of 85. Scientists say they are on the cusp of developing blood tests that could detect the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s damage in people in their 40s and 50s who have no obvious symptoms. This would be more cost-effective diagnostic tool as compared to a PET scan and less invasive than a lumbar puncture. It also raises a difficult question for individuals on whether or not they would like to know their genetic risk, how much they would be willing to share with family and friends and how it could affect their insurance and long-term care. Click here to learn more.


WPRI Ch. 12: Doctor: Bill Gates donation could have huge impact on research - Dr. Danielle Goldfarb discusses Bill Gates donation announcement of $50 million to studying Alzheimer’s and the impact it will have on dementia research. She expects Gates’ donation to the Dementia Discovery Fund to have a huge impact on her field, as well as, all those touched by the disease. One of Butler Hospital’s current research initiatives is an Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry which invites Rhode Islanders 55 and older who are interested in getting involved to join and see if they are eligible for any enrolling clinical trials. Click here to learn more.


gatesnotes - The Blog of Bill Gates: "Bill Gates is Digging Deep into Alzheimer's" - Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates announced his commitment to finding a breakthrough treatment for Alzheimer's disease through a $50 million investment in the Dementia Discovery Fund. This private fund will help support startups who are exploring less mainstream approaches to treating dementia while complementing the work of major pharmaceuticals. Click here to read the full article and view the video.



Brown Daily Herald: Alzheimer’s study may provide methods of prevention, economical diagnosis Brown University professors conducting research at Butler Hospital and RI Hospital are looking to see if a retinal scan can be used to help identify people with amyloid plaque build-up, which has been linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In combination with a PET scans and the use of investigational medication, there may be hope in the future that memory loss can not only be delayed, but identified earlier using a more accessible test that’s not as cost-prohibitive.



Brown University: Researchers seek to catch Alzheimer’s early by peeking into the eyes - Research spanning the academic-medical partnership among Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital and Butler Hospital is advancing the possibility that the retinas will give doctors a way to identify Alzheimer’s disease risk long before symptoms begin. Mark Wolff wanted to know. To him, the thought of suffering through Alzheimer’s disease the way his father did — without knowing, and without his family knowing, what he was up against until late in its progression— is worse than learning, even while he’s still perfectly healthy, that a possible precursor of the disease has gained a toehold. Learn more about Mark's experience and about the collaboration between the research teams at Butler Hospital and Brown University.


WJAR Ch. 10 - Health Check: Alzheimer's Disease Prevention Trial - If you could find out you were at risk for the memory robbing disease Alzheimer's would you want to know? There is a way to find out, by taking part in Alzheimer's prevention trials currently going on in our area. Elaine and Raymond Theriault have been married for 51 years. Raymond, an army veteran, Elaine, a retired nurse have two kids and two grandkids. Both are looking forward to many more years together and memories. And that's why they're here at Butler Hospital's Memory and Aging Program. Learn more about their experiences participating in our clinical trials.


WJAR Ch. 10 – Health Check: Eye Exam for Alzheimer’s Disease - Susan Sullivan continues to be a "citizen of science" by volunteering for her third clinical trial with the Memory and Aging Program. Barbara Morse Sullivan reports on how this trial uses a special retinal scan to detect amyloid proteins. If validated, the retinal scan may be a more cost effective diagnostic exam to identify people at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future.



Providence Journal - RI Seeks New Way to Diagnosis, Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease - Butler’s Memory and Aging Program enrolled its first participant in a retinal imaging trial that’s studying whether an investigational medication can lower amyloid plaques in the brain as well as in the retina for those at risk of developing the disease. If successful, retinal imaging may have the ability to be a more cost-effective way to detect and monitor AD risk and prevention.

ABC 6 News (WLNE-TV, Providence) - Brown University Alzheimer's Study May Lead to Early Detection


Congress Delivers Historic Alzheimer’s Research Funding Increase for Second Consecutive Year - Congress will pass to an increase of $400 million to Alzheimer’s research funding at the National Institute of Health (NIH) for the 2017 fiscal year budget, bringing the total funding to approximately $1.4 billion. This is the second year in a row funding has grown. This will help keep advancing the primary goal of National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s -- finding an effective treatment and prevent AD by 2025 -- helping keep hope alive for the 5 million Americans and their 15 million caregivers who are affected by this devastating disease. Read the Alzheimer's Association's press release for more details.


NBC 10 Healthcheck - Barbara Morse covers a new prevention trial called Generations. Watch the Video


Newsweek – “The New Offensive on Alzheimer’s Disease: Stop It Before It Starts”—In a recently published comprehensive article, Newsweek took stock of the current state of affairs for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The cover story for the February 24 edition, the article delves into the far-reaching effects and implications of the disease, including how it will continue to wreak havoc on the global community, both from a health and wellness perspective, as well as financially. Though finding a cure for AD has held a prominent focus in the research and pharmaceutical fields, the clinical trials testing treatments for AD have a more than 99 percent failure rate. Currently, researchers have switched their attention to investigating preventions, with one new prevention study called EARLY, administering a targeted drug to people who are healthy but have elevated amyloid in their brains, which indicates an increased risk of developing AD.

Facing Dementia


Facing Dementia is a five part television series airing on Channel NewsAsia, an English Language TV news channel based in Singapore. The series follows several families as they navigate through diagnosis, caregiving and treatment of loved ones affected by different types of dementia. In this episode, What the Future Holds, Dr. Stephen Salloway discusses the current and future state of Alzheimer’s research as scientists worldwide work together to find a cure. We’re also introduced to two families from the Memory and Aging Program that are participating in different clinical trials, but that have similar goals of slowing down or preventing Alzheimer’s disease.


Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis - “Landmark Alzheimer’s prevention trial to evaluate third drug” The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is collaborating with Janssen Research & Development to bring a third investigational drug into worldwide clinical trial testing that could potentially be used as a treatment in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. It will become part of a trio of investigational drugs used in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network Trial Unit (DIAN-TU) study. Dr. Stephen Salloway is a Project Arm Leader for DIAN-TU, which is being conducted at Butler’s Memory and Aging Program.


The Providence Journal - "In war on Alzheimer's, R.I.'s Butler Hospital is leading the charge" – This feature story first seen on the front page of the journal, looks at the current affairs in the war on Alzheimer’s disease, and ranks Dr. Stephen Salloway, director of Butler’s Memory and Aging Program, as a general. The in-depth coverage includes articles and accompanying photos and videos that delve into the variety of efforts of Butler’s Memory and Aging Program. A broad spectrum of clinical trials and initiatives that bring the program into collaborations both locally and globally, speak to the committed effort within the Memory and Aging Program to lead a charge toward finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s.

Also reported by:

The Providence Journal EDITORIAL“Editorial: R.I. battles Alzheimer's”

NBC Channel 10“Health Check: Alzheimer's disease treatment”

ABC Channel 6“A breakthrough clinical trial, giving hope to patients with Alzheimer's”

TIME - "An Alzheimer’s Drug Shows Serious Promise”

Science News“New Alzheimer’s drug shows promise in small trial”

Huffington Post“New Drug Clears Abnormal Brain Proteins Tied To Alzheimer’s”

Fox News“Drug shows promise in reducing abnormal brain proteins linked to Alzheimer’s”

Brown University“Rhode Island’s role in promising new Alzheimer’s results”

Scientific American“Alzheimer's Drug Shows Promise in Small Trial”

Science“Alzheimer’s trial supports β amyloid origin of disease”

Toronto Star"High hopes new drug could be a ‘game changer’ against long-incurable Alzheimer’s”

W Radio (en español)“Fármaco para el Alzhéimer va a estar disponible a la venta en unos años: Stephen Salloway”

 08/11/16 - "Coming to a Center New You: GAP & EPAD to Revamp Alzheimer’s Trials" - This three-part story discusses how two of the largest Alzheimer’s disease (AD) reform initiatives, GAP & EPAD, are leading the worldwide effort to revamp how clinical trials recruit potential participants and the plan to evaluate more AD investigational drugs in a more timely and cost effective manner. Their integrated approach is focused on streamlining communication and procedures among pharmaceutical companies, academics and even individual governments.


The Today Show - "New Alzheimer’s Disease Drug May Help People at Risk" Dr. Reisa Sperling, lead investigator for the A4 study in Boston, talks with Maria Shriver about how the study is investigating a new drug aimed at preventing people from developing a buildup of amyloid protein in the brain, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.


WJAR Channel 10 News - "Alzheimer's disease prevention research" Dr. Stephen Salloway discusses a new partnership with the Brain Health Registry and how it can help direct people to participate in prevention trials, such as GeneMatch, especially if there is a family history of Alzheimer’s like Paul Cote’s family.


WJAR Channel 10 News - "Alzheimer's end-of-life study" One of the program’s most highly altruistic trials, the A16 Autopsy Tau Imaging trial, is currently enrolling with the goal of developing a new diagnostic brain scan.


Convergence RI - "Rhode Island emerges as a key hub of Alzheimer’s research" Dr. Stephen Salloway discusses how public-private collaborations are the future for treating and preventing Alzheimer’s by 2025.


Providence Journal - "Help Defeat Alzheimer's" Butler and Rhode Island Hospitals are leading the state in a nationwide study that aims to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease in America’s aging population.


Butler Enrolls First Participant in National Landmark Alzheimer's Study Designed to prevent memory loss, the A4 Study" (Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer's Disease Study) is seeking to enroll 1,000 healthy adults who are at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease but show no outward signs of the disease. Press release


WJAR Channel 10 News - "Alzheimer's Disease Prevention Trial" NBC’s news affiliate covers the story of Peter Bristol as he becomes the first patient to receive treatment in the A4 Study being conducted at Butler Hospital in partnership with National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Eli Lilly.


Rhode Island Public Radio - "Butler Kicks Off Alzheimer's Prevention Trial" Butler Hospital begins enrollment of a national landmark trial, the A4 Study, that tests a specific drug’s potential to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.


Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Alzheimer's Disease Geraldine Paquin is about to embark on uncharted waters undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Alzheimer's disease. Learn more DBS for Alzheimer's about from WJAR 10's Barbara Morse Silva on Health Check 10.


New Deep Brain Stimulation Study for Alzheimer's Disease Butler Hospital's Memory & Aging Program, in collaboration with Rhode Island Hospital, is testing deep brain stimulation for Alzheimer's disease.