Frank M. LaFerla
Frank M. LaFerla is the Chancellor's Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior and director at the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders. Daniel A. Anderson / University Communications

A new case of Alzheimer’s is diagnosed every 70 seconds in the U.S., contributing to $148 billion annually in healthcare costs. More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and as baby boomers age, patient ranks will swell. By 2050, the number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is expected to reach 11-16 million – unless a way to prevent the brain disorder can be found.

Reason enough for UC Irvine researchers to solicit grants and conduct studies to better understand and treat the disease, which currently has no cure. In celebration of World Alzheimer’s Day – Monday, Sept. 21 – we take stock of their progress.

Currently at UCI:

  • Alzheimer’s researchers, many affiliated with the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), have garnered $12.7 million in funding.
  • Several major studies were published reporting significant advances in the field. (See related links.)
  • Five clinical trials involving Alzheimer’s patients are in progress.
  • Researchers are learning more about Alzheimer’s from the 90+ Study in Laguna Woods, one of the nation’s most comprehensive efforts to uncover the causes of dementia in the oldest of the old.