Fighting to End Alzheimer's: Panel Discussion Highlights Research Efforts

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Alzheimer's is a devastating disease affecting more than 5 million Americans, including 27,000 Mainers.

Jackson Lab and the Alzheimer's Association held a panel discussion in Bangor Friday about the illness and the advancements made.

"We need all parts of the community to really embrace this work."

A collaborative effort. That's what medical professionals and advocates say is necessary to cure Alzheimer's Disease.

"So we're developing brand new models to study Alzheimer's disease, but also how we can use those models, really for the first time, to find out what the root causes are."

In 2016, the Jackson Laboratory received a $25 million grant to help combat Alzheimer's.

"And in that time, we've enlisted maybe 30 scientists who are dedicated to Alzheimer's. So we're compiling all the knowledge that we have in genetics to tackle the problem of understanding Alzheimer's and developing new treatments."

This panel discussion focused on just that.

"One of the things that we really look at is the interaction between your genetics and your lifestyle. And what's clear is that if you exercise more and we eat more healthier, then we will reduce levels of Alzheimer's."

Experts discussed the role research plays, why some drugs have not been successful, how we can better support those living with the disease and how people can become more involved in the fight to end it.

"I see the impact on people and families every day."

Dr. Clifford Singer is the Chief of Geriatric Neuropsychiatry at Acadia Hospital.

"We have a large clinical trial program looking at different experimental interventions that might prevent or at least slow the the progression of Alzheimer's disease."

Senator Susan Collins was also on hand, she's the founder and co-chair of the Senate Alzheimer's Task Force and the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee.

"This collaboration between the jackson lab and the alzheimer's association will lead to advancements and ultimately finding a cure."

"So to do an event with the research side, with the legislative side, with the social service agency like ours... These conversations really help."