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New Initiative Launched To Help People Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

New Initiative Launched To Help People Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease


graphic of human head with maze in shape of brain

By Jeanne Hedden Gallagher

October 23, 2020

A cross-disciplinary team of faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have launched the Alzheimer’s Prevention Project and created a website designed to encourage citizens to engage in activities that scientific research has identified will reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.



The website, NoAlzD.org, is led by Larry Reid, a professor of psychology and neuroscience in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS), who has dedicated more than 55 years of research into brain-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s.



“Currently, the only way of reducing the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is to prevent conditions that initiate and sustain its early development,” Reid said. “Fortunately, research supports the idea that there are achievable activities that can prevent Alzheimer’s from progressing from its early beginnings, hence preventing the disease from becoming devastating.”



Tailored for people who still have their cognitive functions, the website offers short questionnaires to determine the level of risk a person has for several of the established risk factors for Alzheimer’s. It also provides accessible research information and suggests cognitive training along with other activities, which has been shown to slow or even prevent the onset and progression of the disease.



“As many as 30% of Americans reaching retirement age are likely to develop the disease unless they do activities to prevent the disease,” Reid said.  “If the website reduces the prevalence of the disease by a mere 1%, that effect would be extremely gratifying and would save multimillions in health care costs. We, of course, aim to help more than 1%.”



Other contributors to the initiative are Alicia Walf, a senior lecturer in HASS, and Richard Plotka, a lecturer in the School of Science. Alumni Dylan Taylor and Mohammed Moftah and alumna Kaila Troia also supported the development of the website.


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.