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/.