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World Alzheimer's Day: September 21

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How the Brain Changes During Alzheimer's Disease

Animation showing how the brain changes during Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease is a deterioration of brain functioning that leads to death. An irreversible degeneration of the brain that causes disruptions in memory, cognition, personality, and other functions that is ultimately fatal.

We’re still searching for a way to stop Alzheimer’s. BrightFocus is making a strong impact in the search for cures. Your support is of tremendous importance to every person on this planet and future generations. Illustration credit: Bob Morrreale

In honor of World Alzheimer’s Day, your gift will fund research to find better treatments and a cure.

Our focus on scientific innovation is driven by empathy. We are deeply mindful of the faces behind our research: those who suffer from these diseases, those who are caregivers or loved ones, and those who may receive a diagnosis in the future. We are understanding, humanizing, and caring. BrightFocus Foundation is the world’s premier source of funding and support for research into Alzheimer’s. Our only hope to end the epidemic is through research.

Over 50 million people live with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias in the world today. If breakthroughs are not discovered, rates could exceed 152 million by 2050.

Graphic showing that worldwide prevalence of dementia will increase from 50 million to 152 million by 2050.

While these numbers are overwhelming, there’s a simple number that outweighs them all… the number one. One researcher can find the key. One scientist can develop the cure. And one compassionate person like you can help make it all happen through your generosity.

Alzheimer's Disease Research, a program of BrightFocus Foundation is currently supporting nearly 100 outstanding biomedical researcher projects.

We believe in taking educated risks. Playing it safe won’t lead to breakthroughs, which is why we support early-stage research and invest in researchers with promise – even if they’ve never received a grant before. We are forward-looking, imaginative, inspiring, and revolutionary.

That’s why we are dedicated to funding innovative scientific investigations by the world’s leading researchers to discover how to treat, prevent, and one day cure this mind-stealing disease. With your help, Alzheimer’s Disease Research can fund even more of the most promising research efforts that are getting us closer to a cure every day!

Take a moment to watch our video: "Cure in Mind. Cure in Sight" to find out more about the exceptional scientific research that we fund worldwide to defeat Alzheimer’s disease.

View the video transcript.

In honor of World Alzheimer’s Day, your gift will fund research to find better treatments and a cure.

A close-up photo of a microscope and slide
BrightFocus takes early and bold risks on the untried, unexpected, and most promising scientific paths, a most recent example, which was featured on PBS, is the first-ever crowdsourced statistical model that can accelerate biomedical research.
An Alzheimer's scientist pointing to data on a computer screen
Investing in the best science
Guided by our rigorous Scientific Review Committees, BrightFocus invests in the best science in the world. The researchers we fund blaze new trails of discovery, breakthroughs that have led to two Nobel Prizes, as well as 49 Met Life Awards and 34 Potamkin Prizes, top honors in neurology. Through our signature Fast Track programs and scientific travel awards, we are investing in promising young researchers around the world.
BrightFocus makes innovative science possible around the world—1,456 research projects involving more than 4,659 scientists in 22 countries.
Science across borders | Science across disciplines
The science we fund spans national borders and scientific disciplines, funding research in 22 countries and bridging the fields of brain and vision research to make faster progress in understanding, treating, and ultimately curing neurodegenerative diseases. Our open-access scientific journal is the top-rated in neuroscience.
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A trusted source for information
We empower families impacted by these diseases by sharing trust information on the latest research findings and best practices. While we work to create a better tomorrow, we also provide thought leadership and advocacy for policies and programs that best support those living with the diseases today.

Join the fight for a cure. Learn more about our research by downloading our Yearbook, which showcases the current portfolio of active projects within the Alzheimer's Disease Research program. As an organizational tool for this yearbook, nearly 100 projects have been arranged by broad themes:

Science Across Borders | Science Across Disciplines  [Graphic showing a male and female scientist ]

  • Stopping Alzheimer’s by Understanding Disease Progression
  • Beta Amyloid and Tau: The Debate Continues
  • Role of Immune Factors and Clearance Mechanisms
  • Blood Vessels and the Brain
  • Drug Discovery and New Treatment Approaches
  • Intervening with Genetic Risk Factors
  • Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk & Impact
  • Pioneering New Ways to Image and Assess the Brain
  • New Methods and Resources to Fight Alzheimer’s

A Look Inside...

An Alzheimer's scientist pointing to data on a computer screen

Huda Zoghbi, MD
Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX)

"...in brain health, one thing that’s really encouraging is that the brain is resilient, and if we find a treatment, we can reverse some symptoms."

A close-up photo of a microscope and slide

Tae Ho Lee, PhD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)

"...with tenacity and perseverance, my research and that of other team efforts will lead to the cure of Alzheimer's disease."

A close-up photo of a microscope and slide

Resham Chhabra, PhD
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

"I was deeply affected by the news of an elderly woman found sitting alone, unable to communicate properly, who could not recall her address. I knew there’s more to the story."

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Robert Newton, PhD
Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Baton Rouge, LA)

"My entry into the field of dementia research began several years ago. Dr. Owen Carmichael, the co-PI on the BrightFocus grant, approached me one day and began discussing the lack of dementia research in African Americans."

Na Zhao, MD, PhD
Mayo Clinic Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL)

"I am grateful to the donors of BrightFocus Foundation for supporting our research on discovering the role of insulin in the brain...I believe we will find a way to cure Alzheimer’s disease someday."

Download the Alzheimer's Disease Research Yearbook and stay informed about Alzheimer's disease:

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Search for Clinical Trials

Resources available include a clinical trial finder to locate nearby opportunities to participate in clinical research, as well as a free resource, Clinical Trials: Your Questions Answered, a guide for those considering volunteering in a research study.

Antidote is a third-party application that allows you to search for clinical trials. It is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the BrightFocus Foundation or our website. Please see our disclaimer related to third-party sites for more information.

Watch Stories About the Impact of Alzheimer's

Video Thumbnail: Photo of  Evelyn who is the primary caregiver for her mother who has Alzheimer’s.

Evelyn's Story

Video Thumbnail: Photo of Pasquale who is enrolled in a clinical trial after receiving after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Pasquale's Story

Video Thumbnail: Photo of Gio, who lost his father and his grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease.

Gio's Story

Everything you need to manage Alzheimer's disease

Many thanks for all you do each and every day to find a cure for this devastating disease — Karen from New York

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