University of Rhode Island Partners With Hospitals Across the Coast for $5-Million Study on Alzheimer’s Detection

Council member The University of Rhode Island (URI) has partnered with Butler Hospital in Providence and BayCare Health Systems—a system of 15 hospitals and other medical centers in Florida—in a new study on detecting Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study will focus on retinal-screening tests, specifically tracking the buildup of amyloid plaque (associated with Alzheimer’s) in the brain. Using this technology, researchers say, could lead to detection of the disease years, even decades, before symptoms appear. This could lead to earlier detection of the disease, at which point drug therapies are more effective and progression more easily slowed. Typical detection tests, such as PET scans, are expensive and not typically covered by insurance plans.

“We believe this could significantly lower the cost of testing,” said Peter Snyder, URI’s Vice President for Research and Economic Development and professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, a principal investigator in the $5-million study. “We may then identify more people in the very earliest stage of the disease, and our drug therapies are likely to be more effective at that point and before decades of slow disease progression.”

The Council commends URI on this expansion in its efforts to both expand knowledge on and access to treatment for Alzheimer’s. Read more in the Providence Journal.

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