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Pennington Biomedical Marks National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

Seeks volunteers for clinical trials on Alzheimer’s and Dementia aimed at better treatments.
Released: Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BATON ROUGE, LA - LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center is marking National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month in November by holding screenings for clinical studies aimed at finding better treatments for the disease.

Earlier this fall, Pennington Biomedical's Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention (IDRP) was designated an Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) Site - a designation that makes Pennington Biomedical the only ADCS site in the tri-state area of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The ADCS is an initiative in partnership with the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging (NIA). The NIA and the ADCS have combined efforts to facilitate the discovery, development and testing of new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease - the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Other ADCS sites include Harvard University, Yale University and the Mayo Clinic.

"Our mission at Pennington Biomedical is to fight chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia by finding new and better ways to prevent and treat them," said Dr. William T. Cefalu, executive director of Pennington Biomedical. "We are looking for innovative treatments and mechanisms to improve the quality of life for people living with cognitive diseases."

November is also National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month - a time each year that aims to shine a spotlight on the disease and the worldwide efforts to eliminate it. This month was designated in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan.

Across the country, an estimated 5.2 million people are living with Alzheimer's disease. One in nine people over the age of 65 has been diagnosed. By the age of 85, people have a one in three chance of developing Alzheimer's. In Louisiana, an estimated 83,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease. Those 83,000 people are aided by more than 226,000 caregivers in Louisiana. The cost to Louisiana is approximately $2.4 billion each year.

"The number of Alzheimer's disease cases is expected to triple from approximately 5 million today to more 15 million in 2030. Today there are no available disease modifying medications, so this increase in the number of cases is likely to be crippling for the families, healthcare providers, and public agencies responsible for providing housing and care for this population," said Dr. Jeff Keller, director of the IDRP. "Pennington Biomedical is helping lead the way in counteracting Alzheimer's by offering free dementia screenings and by providing a diverse portfolio of clinical trials aimed at finding ways to stop the development of the disease and increase the quality of care."

One such clinical trial seeking volunteers is the APECs study. This unique study will test the ability of the investigational drug MK-8931 to prevent Alzheimer's disease in people with mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Several other studies underway at Pennington Biomedical are also looking to combat, treat and prevent these cognitive diseases. For additional information on these studies or to get involved, visit www.pbrc.edu/healthierLA.

  • NOBLE Study: Evaluating the efficacy of the investigational drug T-817MA in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
  • EVAD Study: Testing the effectiveness and safety of a promising investigational drug in patients with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer's disease.
  • EPOCH Study: Researching the effect on cognitive performance, safety and tolerability of an investigational product in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
  • WALKCOG-MCI Study: Determining the effects of walking and/or cognitive remediation therapy as a way of slowing cognitive decline and decreasing fall risk in the elderly with mild cognitive impairment.

Pennington Biomedical's IDRP brings together multiple scientific disciplines within the clinical research arena in order to find novel ways of preventing, detecting and managing dementia in the elderly. The IDRP is establishing itself as a world leader in understanding the interactions between changes in mobility and the development of dementia by incorporating cutting edge measures of free-living movement, life space and overall mobility in individuals with a well-defined cognitive status.

For more information on the IDRP visit http://idrp.pbrc.edu/.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.