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News Release

FOR RELEASE
September 20, 2013

For World Alzheimer's Day
BrightFocus Spotlights
European Affiliates' Special Events

Clarksburg, MD—On the 20th anniversary of World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21), BrightFocus Foundation spotlights its four European affiliates, who are honoring the patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease with a range of educational programs in their respective countries. Their common goal: a future without Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 36 million people worldwide—a number equivalent to the population of Canada. In the U.S., someone develops Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds, and the disease is the sixth leading cause of death.

To date, the five groups combined have provided Alzheimer’s disease research funding equivalent to more than $116 million in US dollars, or more than $85.8 million in Euro dollars, to scientists worldwide.

“Stopping Alzheimer’s disease, which currently has no cure or treatment to reverse symptoms, truly requires a global response,” said BrightFocus Vice President for Scientific Affairs, Guy Eakin, Ph.D.

The BrightFocus affiliates are from Belgium (Stichting Alzheimer Onderzoek or SAO/Fondation Recherche Alzheimer or FRA), France (Ligue Européenne Contre La Maladie d’Alzheimer), Germany (Alzheimer Forschung Initiative eV, or AFI), and the Netherlands (Internationale Stichting Alzheimer Onderzoek).

“The range of common concerns across our nations is striking,” adds Eakin. “Issues include how to manage the growing tsunami of aging populations vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, without breaking the countries’ health care systems; the shortage of quality, affordable nursing homes for patients in later stages of Alzheimer’s; and the urgent need to increase research funding today, if we are to defeat Alzheimer’s disease tomorrow.”

World Alzheimer’s Day activities among the affiliates include:

  • FRANCE—In cooperation with other affiliates, LECMA is producing a computer-animated video that will demonstrate the workings of the human brain. The video—to be available in four languages, including English—will be introduced by scientists speaking at the affiliate’s September 21 public conference in Paris. The topic: understanding Alzheimer’s, to better fight it.

  • GERMANY—AFI will feature three events on the topic of prevention. Scientists will debate whether activities like social interactions, eye-brain exercises, physical activity, or diet can help prevent or even delay Alzheimer’s disease.

  • BELGIUM—Alzheimer’s disease activists will culminate a special awareness campaign with an event at the University of Antwerp. Two new resources will be unveiled: a book about current medical knowledge on Alzheimer’s disease (“Pieces of the Puzzle Come Together”) and a clip from a public service radio and TV ad on “Research Gives Hope.”

  • NETHERLANDS—Events will include the release of the computer animated video produced in cooperation with the French affiliate, LECMA, and special screenings of the moving personal documentary Forget Me Not (Vergiss Mein Nicht), a film by David Sieveking on his mother Gretel, who has Alzheimer's disease. The film will distributed in cinemas in 2014.

Read more about affiliate activities and the issues in their respective countries.

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CONTACT:

Michael Buckley, Vice President of Public Affairs
BrightFocus Foundation
Phone: (301) 556-9370; Email: mbuckley@brightfocus.org

Alice L. Kirkman, Marketing and Communications Manager
BrightFocus Foundation
Phone: (301) 556-9349; Email: akirkman@brightfocus.org

Last Review: 09/20/13


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