In May, Phyllis Rappaport, Co-Founder, Director and Treasurer of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, spoke about the organization to a self-selected subgroup of her Boston-area Smith College reunion class.
The group welcomed the opportunity to hear more about CureAlz’s latest research findings as part of a mini-reunion held at Rappaport’s home. Some of the women have personal connections to Alzheimer’s, and all are baby boomers who know they are entering the age of greatest risk—and they wanted to know more about the disease and the current state of research.
Rappaport distributed materials on women and Alzheimer’s, which note that two-thirds of all patients are female. She told the group that little research has been done to date on the reasons for this discrepancy; historically, laboratory mice used in Alzheimer’s research have been male. Researchers do know that the difference in the rate of occurrence between the sexes is not due to the fact that women live longer than men. Rappaport also gave a comprehensive report on the state of research, emphasizing the many ways Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has changed the world’s understanding of this enormously complex disease.
“Thanks to our scientists’ work, we now know the different stages of the disease for purposes of prevention or targeted therapies,” says Rappaport. “Most clinical trials for Alzheimer’s therapies have failed to date because they were based on an insufficient genetic and biological knowledge of the disease. Future clinical trials based on new scientific understandings may have a greater chance for success.”