Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Experts Gather to Map Alzheimer's Research Agenda

Hundreds of international experts on Alzheimer's disease convened at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., yesterday and today to recommend a research agenda aimed at eventually preventing and treating the disorder. The summit is a key part of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, which was signed into law in January 2011 and requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to implement a national strategy on Alzheimer's research and care.

The National Institute on Aging, which will lead the effort, indicated that the summit's goal is "to identify the resources, infrastructure, and partnerships necessary to accelerate progress" on Alzheimer's disease research. The need to advance knowledge of the disease's prevention and treatment is critical, with about 5 million current cases of Alzheimer's and a projected spike in the number of cases as the population of the U.S. and other countries ages. NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., noted that "there's a sense of optimism thanks to some new discoveries, [but] we need to figure out exactly where is the best window of opportunity to battle back Alzheimer's."

Read about promising research in Alzheimer's disease in Psychiatric News here and here. For the latest knowledge about diagnosis and treatment of the disorder, see the new edition of The Clinical Manual of Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias from American Psychiatric Publishing.

(image: Chris Harvey/Shutterstock.com)