Memory Walk… Stocking the Pond

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Board Member Geoff Heredia (L) presents a New Investigator research grant to Dr. Sherry Beaudreau of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Palo Alto

When I was a young boy in Iowa my dad used to take us fishing in nearby farm ponds. We never caught anything large, just bluegills and bullheads, but I remember finding it all very exciting and wondered how it was  the fish found their way into a modest body of water in the midst of some large pasture. “The farmer stocked the pond,” my dad would explain.

Yesterday morning I presented a check for $41,000 to Dr. Sherry Beaudreau of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Palo Alto. It’s the first installment of her New Investigator Grant researching the relationship between anxiety and depression and cognitive function.

A couple of months ago we presented a similar New Investigator grant to Dr. Lea Grinberg at UCSF. Another young scientist, this time looking into the differing lesions in brain tissue by ethnicity.

These researchers are looking at widely divergent issues relating to Alzheimer’s disease, but they also have a great deal in common. They are bright, optimistic and believe they have important questions to which they can find answers. They are part of the future of Alzheimer’s science.

And while in some glib sense, you and I wish there were no need for a future for Alzheimer’s science, we know that we need to stock this pond. Most of what we know about Alzheimer’s disease we’ve learned in the past 20 years, and many of the great lights of Alzheimer’s research are with us today at the prime of their professional lives. We hope some of them are successful in unraveling the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease.

Still, we know that someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s today doesn’t currently have a path to remission or even slowing the progress of the disease. You and I have to keep stocking the pond. In our grants to Drs. Grinberg and Beaudreau we are helping the best and brightest see a future in Alzheimer’s research. We are giving them a leg up to establishing their own labs, recruiting their own post-docs, publishing their own work and hopefully going on to bigger questions and successful answers.

Dr. Grinberg emailed me this week to ask about Memory Walk. New to our community, she wanted to know how to participate. I very much appreciate that not only is she doing our work in the lab, but she wants to be part of this movement.

We’re in this together. Memory Walk. You and me and Drs. Grinberg and Beaudreau. Maybe this Saturday in San Francisco or the 25th in San Jose or October 2 in Sacramento or…. well, you get the idea. Go to alz.org and find the “where” near you. Let’s stock the pond.

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