Denver Alzheimer’s Researcher Plays Key Role in Colorado COVID-19 Response

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Two women scientists working in the lab.

University of Denver Alzheimer’s researcher Lotta Granholm-Bentley, PhD, DDS, is playing a key role in her community’s medical response to the coronavirus, and working with Colorado seniors to help combat the sense of isolation many are feeling during these difficult times. 

In addition to serving on an advisory board to help Colorado Governor Jared Polis with the impact of the virus on the state’s older residents, Dr. Granholm-Bentley led a campus-wide collection of donated medical supplies including gloves and masks.

“We made gallons of hand sanitizer (according to a World Health Organization recipe: aloe, ethanol and tea tree oil) and delivered these and the medical supplies to area home care and assisted living facilities,” said Dr. Granholm-Bentley.

Hand sanitizer and other supplies prepared by the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging.

Granholm-Bentley created a series of “how-to” communications tips and tools about how to connect during this time of COVID-19 isolation.  She noted, “Many people, particularly the elderly and those in rural areas of the state, and the country, would benefit from knowing how to do calls via Zoom or Skype.”

These tips are posted on her center’s website and have been shared with thousands of older adults around Colorado.

Even in the face of the pandemic’s many challenges, Dr. Granholm-Bentley remains optimistic,  “Everyone here in Colorado is very helpful and these activities make us not go crazy in a time of isolation!”

Dr. Granholm-Bentley is the founding Executive Director of the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging and is a research professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Denver.  She is leading a BrightFocus-funded effort to better understand Down syndrome-related Alzheimer’s disease.  According to Granholm-Bentley, as many as 80 percent of the Down syndrome population will develop Alzheimer’s pathology in their 50s and 60s.