Funding for New Dementia-Related Projects Awarded to Global Brain Health Leaders
Over the past five years, three leading organizations—the Alzheimer’s Association, Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), and the UK-based Alzheimer’s Society—have united to address global challenges in dementia through a competitive funding program for emerging leaders in brain health and dementia.
Today, the organizations announced the latest recipients of the Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders, which supports and develops small-scale pilot projects aimed at reducing the scale and impact of dementia across the world.
“Dementia is a global health crisis. But at any given moment, there is a bright mind somewhere around the world working to fix that,” said Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer. “The Alzheimer’s Association shares the commitment toward advancing the careers of global leaders in dementia research, care, policy, and more, so we can move closer to discovering methods of care, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of this devastating disease.”
The 2021 awards will drive projects that address disparities in dementia diagnosis, treatment, and care for vulnerable populations and their families. The recipients span 18 countries across five continents, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lithuania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sweden, UK Nigeria, Peru, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA, and Zimbabwe.
“Diversity of discipline, profession, and region is key to our success,” said Victor Valcour, MD, PhD, executive director of GBHI.
The prevalence of dementia is expected to triple worldwide to 152 million by 2050. There is currently no known cure for the diseases that cause dementia; however, according to the 2020 Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care, up to 40% of cases could potentially be prevented by public health and lifestyle interventions.
“Across the world someone develops dementia every three seconds,” said Richard Oakley, PhD, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society. “It’s critical we invest now in innovative research to tackle the most critical challenges of the future. Supporting initiatives like this will help to ensure everyone can access a dementia diagnosis as well as treatments and support across the globe.”
Several pilot award projects focus on the social determinants of health—or the social factors that affect the health of an individual—like physical activity, social support, and communication. These include a study of the role of social interaction and physical activity in brain health in people with frontotemporal dementia in India, a brain health navigation social support initiative in England, and an international network for language assessment across neural disorders in Latin America.
Lack of access to resources and training can present significant barriers to dementia care. Two projects based in Ecuador—one considering the neurocognitive and social health of older adults in the Andes and another developing a curriculum of dementia training for healthcare professionals to be delivered through the Ministry of Public Health—aim to bring resources to remote areas, meeting a key need for populations that have historically been overlooked.
Several of this year’s projects focus on education as an intervention for dementia. These include a trauma-focused physiotherapy intervention in refugees in Jordan, dance and brain health community in the USA, and a cognitive training program for adults with HIV in Zimbabwe.
The total funding of approximately $650,000 (£471,000, €559,000) includes about $25,000 (£18,100, €21,500) for each individual award to enable the recipients to test an approach and then, if successful, seek further resources to scale up their work.
The 26 awardees will join an overall portfolio of 114 pilots in 36 countries, bringing the total awarded to date to $2.85 million. The success of the initial pilot projects has resulted in an additional $1.8 million investment directly related to pilots. The visionary work of the awardees has led to a total of $32.2 million to further advancements of dementia-related projects.
2021 Pilot Awards
- Role of social Interaction and physical activity in brain health and FTD (India; Arshad, Faheem)
- APP4PPA: a remote speech-language therapy for Italian PPA (Italy; Battista, Petronilla)
- Examining the association between fear of dementia and lifestyle risk factors (Ireland; Farina, Francesca)
- Brain health navigation to improve health equity in Greater Manchester (United Kingdom; Fox, Sarah)
- International network for language assessment across neural disorders (Chile; García, Adolfo)
- Understanding and improving dementia care via clinical-creative partnership (Ireland; Hope, Gráinne)
- Storytelling in action: dance program for people living with dementia (United States; Kaczmarska, Magda)
- Exploring casual inferences between kidney function and cognitive disorders (United States; Kelly, Dearbhla)
- Social determinants and dementia phenotype in Israelis of diverse ancestry (Israel; Keret, Ophir)
- A trauma focused physiotherapy intervention in refugees (Jordan; Khalil, Hanan)
- “Preparada Mente”: An online course on dementia for primary care teams (Chile; León, Tomás)
- Virtual initiative for training to informal caregivers and families (Nicaragua; López, Milton)
- The Frontotemporal education initiative in Argentina for Psychiatrist (Argentina; Magrath Guimet, Nahuel)
- EEG Markers of Apathy in Dementia (Brazil; Mariano, Luciano)
- The Return Home - Evaluation of a novel intervention for people with dementia (Israel; Mayan, Inbal)
- Lewy Body Ireland (Ireland; Meenan, Karen)
- Adapting a cognitive training program for adults ageing with HIV (Zimbabwe; Nyamayaro, Primrose)
- Person public involvement for transformative change in Lithuania (Lithuania; Petkutė, Ieva)
- Genetics of Parkinson’s disease dementia in the Mexican population (Mexico; Rentería, Miguel)
- Climate change, ecological stress, and brain health in indigenous people (Germany; Röhr, Susanne)
- Economic evaluation of support monitoring and reminder technology (Sweden; Saha, Sanjib)
- Aging in place: Immigrant embodiment of brain health in California (United States; Saxton, Dvera)
- Feasibility study to co-produce a center for theater and dementia research (United Kingdom; Taylor, Nicky)
- Characterizing the neurocognitive and social health in Ecuador (Ecuador; Tituaña, Kuri)
- Dementia Diagnosis Training Project in Ecuador (Ecuador; Unaucho, Maria)
- Cognitive, clinical, and genetic characterization of dementia in Colombia (Colombia; Zapata, Lina)
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®. For more information, visit http://www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.
Global Brain Health Institute
The Global Brain Health Institute is a leader in the global community dedicated to protecting the world's aging populations from threats to brain health.
GBHI works to reduce the scale and impact of dementia in three ways: by training and connecting the next generation of leaders in brain health through the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program; by collaborating in expanding preventions and interventions; and by sharing knowledge and engaging in advocacy.
We strive to improve brain health for populations across the world, reaching into local communities and across our global network. GBHI brings together a powerful mix of disciplines, professions, backgrounds, skills, perspectives, and approaches to develop new science-based solutions. We focus on working compassionately with all people including those in vulnerable and under-served populations to improve outcomes and promote dignity for all people.
GBHI is based at the University of California, San Francisco, and Trinity College Dublin. Visit http://www.gbhi.org or find us on Twitter @GBHI_Fellows.
Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The mission of Alzheimer's Society is to transform the landscape of dementia forever. Until the day we find a cure, we will strive to create a society where those affected by dementia are supported and accepted, able to live in their community without fear or prejudice.
Alzheimer's Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk. Alzheimer's Society provides the Dementia Connect support line, the number is 0333 150 3456.