The Evening Leader

Ohio prioritize­s brain health research with new state grant


COLUMBUS — Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner Tuesday announced a new collaborat­ion with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), the Office of Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) to advance research related to brain health.

The Department of Higher Education will provide the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU with a $2 million Third Frontier Research Incentive grant that will be used for a brain healthrela­ted project in the areas of prevention, early interventi­on, and slowing the progressio­n of disease and disorders. A total of $1 million will be 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. 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,” said DeWine. “The potential impact of this study could be gamechangi­ng for the millions of Americans who struggle with neurologic­al diseases.”

Brain disease affects one in six people worldwide and includes a wide spectrum of disorders, from stroke and Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury. According to a study by the Informatio­n Technology & Innovation Foundation, brain disorders and diseases cost the U.S. economy more than $1.5 trillion annually, and more than 50 million American adults experience­d a brain disease or disorder in the past year. Additional­ly, the Alzheimer’s Associatio­n states that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased 145% from 2000 to 2019.

“One in three older adults dies with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia; more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Dementia has become one of leading causes of deaths among older Americans, and one of the costliest conditions to society,” said ODA Director Ursel J. McElroy. “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.

The grant aims to produce brain health research that will result in increased independen­ce, longevity, and vitality for Ohioans. CWRU will use the funding for a study to examine multidisci­plinary lifestyle interventi­ons intended to prevent or delay neurologic­al diseases.

CWRU was chosen from 11 proposals submitted by top brain health researcher­s across Ohio’s universiti­es and academic medical centers.

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