On May 1, 2015, the National Institutes of Health released new recommendations for the future of research related to Alzheimer's disease, according to an NIH press release. The recommendations call for increased collaboration between research facilities, expanded data-driven research approaches and the usage of wearable devices to speed up research and development of Alzheimer's treatments for those in all stages of the disease.
"Recommendations could usher in an era of collaborative Alzheimer's research."
The 2015 Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit
Hosted by the National Institutes of Aging, the Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit brought together more than 60 leading experts, non-profit organizations, research facilities, advocacy groups and academia to discuss treatment and prevention methods for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. The summit took place on Feb. 9-10, 2015, and consisted of six sessions in which experts discussed various aspects of creating better future outcomes for those with mental health disorders.
"Alzheimer's research is entering a new era in which creative approaches for detecting, measuring and analyzing a wide range of biomedical data sets are leading to new insights about the causes and course of the disease," said NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins in a statement. "In these times of significant fiscal constraints, we need to work smarter, faster and more collaboratively. These recommendations underscore the importance of data sharing and multidisciplinary partnerships to a research community that looks to the NIH for guidance on the way forward."
The recommendations will be taken into consideration by the National Advisory Council on Aging at the organization's annual meeting on May 12 and 13, 2015. If accepted, the recommendations could usher in a new era of Alzheimer's research in which stakeholders team up more directly to develop modern therapies. By creating firm partnerships, utilizing advanced technology and developing novel treatments, researchers can give Alzheimer's patients more options for long-term treatment.
"Determining the best path for progress in Alzheimer's disease research has been as challenging and complicated as the disorder itself," said NIA Director Dr. Richard J. Hodes. "These recommendations support a research framework that empowers all stakeholders — including those with the disease or at risk for developing it — to engage in the vital effort to find treatments."
An NIH summary of the Alzheimer's summit shows that the six sessions covered overarching themes but touched on diverse topics such as interdisciplinary research, engaging citizens, increasing collaboration, innovating disease assessment and care, new prevention strategies and rethinking Alzheimer's therapy development.
Currently, the exact cause of Alzheimer's disease is yet to be identified, and mass-scale collaboration is certainly imperative to these efforts. Creating a network of researchers, caregivers, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions and other stakeholders will rely on advanced technology methods of storing, sharing and analyzing data. Ideally, the Internet of Things will also make it possible to recognize trends among those with Alzheimer's disease and support more active engagement among caregivers and patients.
The recommendations will be used to update the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease.