The US federal government, through the National Institute on Aging (NIA) currently funds 30 Alzheimer's Disease Centers (ADCs) at major medical institutions across the United States. The University of Pennsylvania has been a designated and funded ADC since 1981.
At these centers, researchers work to translate research advances into improved care and diagnosis for Alzheimer's patients while, at the same time, focusing on the program's long term goal — finding a way to cure and possibly prevent Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Areas of investigation range from studying the basic mechanisms of AD, to managing the symptoms, and helping families cope with the effects of the disease. Center staff conduct basic, clinical, and behavioral research. Each of the 30 centers has its own unique areas of emphasis. One of the program's major benefits is the opportunity for collaborative studies that draw upon the expertise of scientists from many different disciplines.
Centers also have significant responsibilities related to education, information transfer, and the training of scientists and health care providers new to AD research. A common goal of the ADCs is to enhance research on AD by providing a network for sharing new ideas as well as research results.
Additionally, there are 27 ADC-affiliated satellite facilities that offer diagnostic and treatment services and collect research data in underserved, rural, and minority communities. For patients and families affected by AD, ADC's offer state of the science:
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