June 1, 2022/News Releases

Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic Announces Its Latest Research Grant Recipients

Grantees to conduct innovative research projects aimed at the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease in women

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In recognition of June as Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic (WAM at Cleveland Clinic) today announced the recipients of the 2021 WAM research grants, seed funding for innovative women-based Alzheimer’s disease research studies, which will be conducted over two years, 2022-2023.

The five funded projects are aimed at supporting WAM at Cleveland Clinic’s mission to help answer the question of why two out of three cases of Alzheimer’s disease are in women, and why communities of color are especially hard hit by this fatal disease. This announcement comes on the heels of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement partnering with Cleveland Clinic in February to become WAM at Cleveland Clinic.

“Medical research has historically left women out of clinical trials and major brain-health studies,” said Maria Shriver, founder of WAM and strategic partner on women’s health and Alzheimer’s to Cleveland Clinic. “Getting to understand why women are at the center of this disease is why WAM was founded. We are proud to help support these new projects as we invest in the power of research to change the trajectory of women’s brain health and advance our knowledge of the ways in which Alzheimer’s disease affects women.”

Each of the diverse research projects selected is aimed to help explain why women are disproportionately impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and what interventions may be effective as a means to reduce women’s risk for developing the disease. With these latest grants, WAM at Cleveland Clinic will have funded $4.25 million for 40 studies at 17 leading institutions, and positioned its grantees to earn an additional $83 million more in government and foundation funding.

The 2021 grantees are affiliated with major medical institutions. The recipients and their projects include:

Puja Agarwal, Ph.D., Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois: This study, which is co-funded by the Alzheimer’s Association, addresses the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s disease on communities of color by studying how dietary choices affect the cognition of older adults from different cultures and ethnicities.

Roberta Diaz Brinton, Ph.D., Center for Innovation in Brain Science Regents Professor, Pharmacology and Neurology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson: This builds on prior WAM-supported grants showing that specific breast cancer therapies can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and expands the investigation to determine the best therapies that control type 2 diabetes while also reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Jessica Caldwell, Ph.D., Director of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement Prevention Center at Cleveland Clinic: This grant promotes the growth of the WAM Prevention Center at Cleveland Clinic located inside the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, by increasing research into women at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Elizabeth Head, Ph.D., Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California, Irvine: This grant studies sex differences in the neuropathology of people with Down’s syndrome, all of whom eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease. It is awarded as part of the UCI MIND WAM Women’s Research Initiative under the direction of Joshua Grill, Ph.D.

Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D., Women’s Brain Health Initiative, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York: This study investigates the existence of neurophysiological subtypes of menopause in order to determine whether certain areas of the brain are responsible for specific symptoms of menopause in mid-life women at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

To learn more about WAM grants, visit https://thewomensalzheimersmovement.org/.

About Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic

The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic is a partnership between the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM), the pre-eminent non-profit organization for women and Alzheimer’s founded by Maria Shriver, and Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit multispecialty academic center that integrates clinical care with research and education. The venture between these two renowned organizations is focused on raising awareness about women’s increased risk for Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases, educating the public about brain health, and raising funds to support women-based Alzheimer’s and neurological research. WAM has led the way in re-framing the narrative of Alzheimer’s as a women’s issue, starting with its ground-breaking 2010 Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s, produced with the Alzheimer’s Association. Since then, Shriver and WAM have continued to help shape the national dialogue and policy around Alzheimer’s, including leading the first ever California Task Force on Alzheimer’s Prevention, Preparedness and the Path Forward in 2021. To learn more visit thewomensalzheimersmovement.org or follow @womensalzmovement and @womenalz

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 72,500 employees worldwide are more than 5,050 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,800 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 22 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2021, there were 10.2 million total outpatient visits, 304,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 259,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

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