Kuakini Medical Center Awarded $1.1 Million in Stimulus Funds for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Research
September 15, 2009
Senator Daniel K. Inouye announced today that Kuakini Medical Center will receive $1.1M in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for further research on specimens obtained from participants of the Kuakini Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (Kuakini HAAS).
“Alzheimer’s and dementia rob so many of precious years at the end of their life,” said Senator Inouye. “This funding is crucial to continuing research that benefits not only individuals in Hawaii suffering from dementia but also their family members, and to future generations.”
Dr. Lon White, Principal Investigator, said the study will further understanding of the cause of dementia and help identify preventive strategies to reduce the human and public health burden from this affliction. (Dr. White and Kuakini HAAS project staff are subcontracted from Pacific Health Research Institute.)
ARRA funding will be used to carry out extensive microscopic examinations of brain tissues already available from deceased men who participated in the Kuakini HAAS, which is an outgrowth of the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program. A goal of the research project is to see how pathologic changes in brain tissue affect memory and thinking in the final years of life. Researchers also want to learn how diet, general health, and activity during life affect brain health and pathology. This will help in understanding why some individuals develop Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in old age while others maintain normal intellectual ability for their entire lives.
The Kuakini HAAS has shown that in most cases, several pathological changes including Alzheimer’s disease and small strokes are present in deceased individuals with dementia. The results indicate that it is likely that most cases of dementia are due to a combination of factors rather than a single disease process.
Kuakini Medical Center’s research programs have been fortunate to receive more than $72 million in federal funds since the 1960’s which have benefited Hawaii. The additional research funding will support current and new research staff and the purchase of essential laboratory equipment and materials.
The National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health is supporting the project.