Happy anniversary ADRC ~ Domenico Pratico, MD, FCPP

Alzheimer’s disease Research Center
I would like to invite you for just a moment to step into a time machine and journey 40 years back to 1984 when our late Tina Turner’s song “What’s love got to do with it” was on top of the charts, and the movie “Ghostbusters” was a big box office hit.

Where was Alzheimer’s disease back then? Some scientists were starting to perceive that the condition Dr. Alois Alzheimer had identified and meticulously described around1907 was the most common cause of memory impairments in the elderly, but most of the people, physicians included, would refer to as “senility”.

It was a time when there was not even an agreement on whether Alzheimer’s was a real disease or some type of natural brain aging (aka as getting older). While a few scientific papers described the classical lesions in the brains of “senile patients”, no investigation had explored yet the prevalence, risk factors, and the key mechanisms responsible for the disease. Because of all these facts, now just for a moment imagine what was the typical clinical scenario at that time. In most cases, individuals would come to diagnosis when they were already impaired, and families had absolutely nowhere to turn, considering the total lack of experts and specialized resources.

It was in this context that about 40 years ago a few scientists pioneered the effort to create the first Alzheimer’s disease Research Center (ADRC) at the National Institute of Health. Today there are more than 30 ADRC at different medical institutions across the United States. This is an important milestone that calls for a celebration. On a personal level, I can tell you for sure that it has been an exhilarating journey filled with scientific achievements and advancements in Alzheimer’s disease research.

Please join me in this celebration, it is thanks to these visionary scientists that today we continue to strive and make major discoveries in the field of the basic mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection. It is because of them that we continue to explore behavioral and pharmaceutical interventions and new techniques to study and treat memory impairments and Alzheimer’s disease as well as the ability to maintain cognitive functions with age. It is because of that revolutionary idea that we are getting closer and closer to fully understand and solve the puzzle of Alzheimer’s disease.

Happy Anniversary ADRC!

Check out the recent blog: “The Stigma of Alzheimer’s disease?”

Domenico Praticò, MD, is the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation Chair for Alzheimer’s Research, Professor and Director of the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple, and Professor of Pharmacology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

You can find out more information on Dr. Domenico Pratico’s research papers here.

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