R.I. experts to gather to discuss progress in Alzheimer’s research

Updated at 11;40 a.m. on Sept. 11.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED to the free discussion involving local experts about the advances in studying Alzheimer's disease. The discussion will take place at Butler Hospital in Providence on Sept. 21. / COURTESY BUTLER HOSPITAL

PROVIDENCE  Scientists, researchers and advocates across the region will gather at Butler Hospital on Sept. 21 to discuss the latest advances in Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment and how Rhode Island is playing a role in the battle against the disease.

The public is invited to the free event, which will take place from 4:30-7 p.m., according to a news release from the Robert J. & Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science at Brown University.

Brown alumnus David Shenk, a journalist and author of “The Forgetting, Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic,” will lead the discussion with panelists Jessica Alber, assistant professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences and Ryan research assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Rhode Island; Maritza Ciliberto, member of the National Institutes of Health’s National Advisory Council on Aging; Dr. Edward “Ted” Huey, director of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, affiliate of the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and professor in Brown’s Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior; and Gregorio Valdez, GLF translational associate professor of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry at Brown.

“Rhode Island’s close-knit community of scientists, researchers and institutions helps foster an uncommon spirit of cooperation and connection,” said Brown University President Christina H. Paxson. “At Brown, we have a robust foundation in place. By attracting talented scholars, investing in facilities and creating the infrastructure to connect the incredible work already happening in our labs and clinical settings, our goal is to accelerate development toward novel treatments and cures in the fight against Alzheimer’s.”

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Every year, Alzheimer’s disease kills more people in the U.S. than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. In Rhode Island, some 24,000 people aged 65 and older are living with the disease, and 36,000 caregivers provide 51 million hours of unpaid care, according to the Carney Institute. Annually, Alzheimer’s costs the state Medicaid program $470 million.

“The battle against Alzheimer’s disease is at an inflection point. New drugs for early-stage treatment have been approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] and powerful molecular tools are being employed for disease identification and detection,” said Diane Lipscombe, director of the Carney Institute’s Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research. “Now is the time for ever-more collaborative, ground-breaking research to bring treatments for Alzheimer’s from the ‘bench to bedside’ with speed and efficacy.”

The event will take place in Ray Hall on the Butler campus, off Blackstone Boulevard. Representatives from Butler, the R.I. Department of Health and the Rhode Island Alzheimer’s Association will be on hand to share information, answer questions and connect attendees with relevant resources.

Those interested in attending are asked to preregister for the event at bit.ly/CarneyWAD23 or by calling (401) 863-7421. A reception will precede the discussion. Free parking is available.

(Updated to correct a broken link to the preregistration page for the event.)

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