The PRARP (formerly the Militarily Relevant Peer Reviewed Alzheimer's Disease (MRPRA) Research Program) was initiated in 2011 to address the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as they pertain to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Military personnel and other individuals who suffer from TBI face an increased risk for developing several long-term health problems. These conditions include Alzheimer's-like dementia, aggression, memory loss, depression, and symptoms similar to those of other neurological diseases.
Consistent with the PRARP's mission, the program faces 5 overarching challenges. These overarching challenges represent longstanding research goals for the program:
- The paucity of research resources to examine the interrelationship between TBI and subsequent AD for military veterans/other individuals affected by TBI.
- The paucity of clinical studies to examine the interrelationship between TBI and subsequent AD for military veterans/other individuals affected by TBI.
- The need for technologies, tests, interventions or devices with the potential to diagnose AD at its earliest stages.
- The need for technologies, tests, interventions, epidemiological studies, or devices with the potential to benefit individuals suffering from the common symptoms of TBI or AD.
- The need for technologies, tests, interventions, epidemiological studies, or devices with the potential to reduce caregiver burden for individuals affected by the common symptoms of TBI or AD.
The PRARP has identified several research focus areas which are viewed as avenues towards addressing the PRARP overarching challenges. These are technical in nature, and represent research disciplines most suited to the PRARP's overarching challenges:
- Genomics/Proteomics/Bioinformatics: Studies or technologies (e.g., genetic, proteomic and epigenetic strategies) intended to characterize neurological change(s) associated with TBI and subsequent AD. In addition, relevant technologies or tests may be considered under this focus area.
- Pathology of Tau: Novel research and technologies dedicated to unraveling the basic pathological mechanisms of Tau associated with TBI and AD.
- New! Roles of non-neuronal cells in TBI/AD pathogenesis: Technologies, tests, studies, or devices that will examine the roles of astrocytes (or other non-neuronal cells) in AD neurodegeneration due to TBI.
- Imaging: Development and application of anatomic and molecular imaging strategies to characterize neurological change associated with TBI and subsequent AD.
- Care Interventions and Quality of Life: Research intended to stabilize or improve the quality of life of those affected by the common symptoms of TBI and AD. Examples of research in this focus area include:
- Cognitive Training Interventions
- Studies of Health and Wellness
- Behavioral Interventions
- Neuropsychological Interventions
- Caregiver support: Research intended to reduce the burden of care on the caregiver for individuals affected by the common symptoms of TBI and AD. Examples of research in this focus area include:
- Caregiver Training
- Home Based Support
- Behavioral Interventions
- Relationship Interventions
- $12.0 million FY14
- $12.0 million FY15
- 29 awards FY11-13