Researching Ways to Make Memories Last a Lifetime
UCI MIND seeks to enhance the quality of life for older adults by researching factors and lifestyle approaches that promote successful brain aging. Toward this end, UCI MIND facilitates and coordinates a number of activities, some of which are listed below:
- Conduct longitudinal research that follows individuals with and without cognitive impairment to evaluate their clinical and neuropsychological changes over time.
- Perform clinical trials of promising investigational therapeutics.
- Share biological resources such as human brain tissue, serum, DNA, and cerebrospinal fluid from well-characterized clinical subjects with researchers worldwide.
- Deliver community outreach with the goal of increasing participation in research.
- Train and educate for the next generation of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the field of brain aging and neurodegeneration.
- Stimulate research through individual and collaborative grants and philanthropic fundraising.
- Sponsor seminars and meetings to promote scholarship and information exchange.
- Partner with community-based organizations serving individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to educate and raise awareness among the community.
Understanding the basic mechanisms of brain aging while developing effective treatments for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease is of local and national importance. Older adults are the fastest growing segment of the American population. Today, this cohort comprises 15 percent of the population and is expected to increase to 22 percent of the population by the year 2040. With age, however, the odds of developing dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease in particular, increase markedly. Dementia affects roughly 12 percent of adults age 65 and older and alarmingly up to 47 percent of people older than 85.
Orange County is one of the fastest growing national metropolitan sites today and has more than 84,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or a high risk for developing it. The county’s older adult population is expected to nearly double in the next 20 years. And by 2030, 63 percent of the area’s population is expected to be non-Caucasian. The diagnosis, management, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are major challenges permeating all levels of social and economic status in a diversity of cultures. The community looks to the University and UCI MIND for leadership, and in turn, UCI MIND seeks to provide scholarly education and discoveries to a populace severely impacted by the disease. UCI MIND is well positioned to meet emerging research needs in the field and to translate these findings to relevant clinical practice in the local community.