This week marked the opening of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, one of only 17 such facilities funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Aging. The Center offers unique and cutting-edge research, clinical care and support for Alzheimer’s patients and their families as well as specialized education and training for School of Medicine and Public Health students. According to director Dr. Sanjay Asthana, one of the highlights of the new center will be the statewide expansion of the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), a registry of asymptomatic adult children of AD victims. The goal of the registry is to find clues to the disease, even before people develop symptoms, and provide early intervention. Researchers will be following over 1,300 people for 20, 30 or more years to see who develops the disease and why they’re different from those who don’t, said Dr. Asthana. The statewide registry will allow researchers to begin groundbreaking research on Alzheimer’s disease in minority groups. Asthana says there is very little, if any, research on the development of the disease in minority populations. Their findings will hopefully impact not only the 160,000 families in Wisconsin affected by AD, but also the millions affected the world over.
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