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New state grant awarded for brain-health research

Special to the Legal News

Published: May 23, 2022

A new $2 million state grant has been announced for a project to advance research in brain health in Ohio. The project will be operated through a collaboration between the Office of Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Aging and Case Western Reserve University.
The money will be used for research in the areas of early intervention, prevention and slowing the progression of brain disorders and disease.
The Ohio Department of Higher Education will provide the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University with the grant––with $1 million being awarded in each of fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
“This new state grant and collaboration with Case Western Reserve University is Ohio’s next step in the advancement of brain-health research,” said DeWine. “Ohio has been a strong innovator in health care, and with this news, will continue to uphold its reputation as we place emphasis on areas of prevention and treatment. The potential impact of this study could be game-changing for the millions of Americans who struggle with neurological diseases.”
The grant aims to produce research resulting in increased independence, longevity and vitality for older Ohioans, according to a press release.
Ohio has more than 2.8 million residents age 60 or older. That group accounts for nearly one-quarter of the state’s total population, according to the Department of Aging.
“One in three older adults die with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia; more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined,” said ODA Director Ursel McElroy. “Dementia has become one of the costliest conditions to society.”
Brain disease affects 1 in 6 people worldwide and includes a wide spectrum of diseases and disorders, including stroke, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury, according to a study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease alone is 17 percent at 75 years of age and 33 percent at 85.
Brain diseases cost the economy more than $1.5 trillion annually. More than 50 million American adults experienced a brain disease or disorder in the past year, the study found.
Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased 145 percent from 2000 to 2019, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The research funded through the new collaboration is targeted to advance and accelerate the development of innovative treatments, product innovation and rehabilitative efforts that may lead to the functional improvement of people living with brain diseases and disorders.
According to the ODA brain-health Request for Proposal, Ohio is a strong investor in health-care research.
“Ohio is looking to increase longevity and create healthier economies of scale with the goal to being the healthiest place to age. Longevity is dependent not only on healthier lifestyles, but also focusing on brain health. This research incentive will award funds to one or more brain health related-projects in the area of prevention, early intervention, and slowing the progression of disease and disorders,” the proposal stated.
According to the Request for Proposal, the brain-health research should develop life-changing interventions for brain disease and disorders, including the following new methods and strategies:
• To reduce damage immediately following diagnosis;
• To stop or slow the progression of deterioration of the brain;
• To repair trauma to the brain;
• To slow or reverse the degeneration after diagnosis and/or injury; and
• To strategies in treatment, care, prevention, diagnosis, and detection as well as caregiving to Ohioans.
“The time to invest in brain health is now. We are pleased to partner with Ohio’s world class researchers to better inform Ohioans on lifestyle factors, such as exercise and nutrition, and their impact on brain health in preventing and lowering the risk of dementia,” said McElroy.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University will study multidisciplinary lifestyle interventions, such as exercise, diet and stress management, which are intended to delay or prevent neurological diseases.
The research is expected to accelerate biotechnological and lifestyle interventions for health-care providers.
“I’m pleased to have Case Western Reserve … join this collaborative effort to improve brain health for all Ohioans,” said ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner.
The university was chosen from 11 proposals submitted by top brain-health researchers from Ohio’s universities and academic medical centers.
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