DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Vision - To address the long-term implications of military service as they pertain to Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias

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Military personnel face an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or a related dementia as they age. Risk factors such as traumatic brain Injury, vascular disease, lifestyle and alterations in cognition or behavior may affect military personnel at higher rates or with greater severity than the general public. These risk factors may be linked to early dementia symptoms, such as aggression, memory loss, depression, and symptoms similar to those of other neurological diseases, long before a dementia diagnosis can be established by a medical professional. The PRARP was initiated in 2011 to address the long-term consequences of TBI as they pertain to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In 2016, the program was expanded to include AD-related dementias (ADRD) research as it pertains to TBI. In 2021, the program expanded its focus to include the spectrum of AD and ADRD risk factors that may affect military health. The program emphasizes not only basic research related to understanding and diagnosing the molecular basis of dementia after military service, but also tools and strategies which can improve the quality of life of individuals living with AD or ADRD by their implementation in care settings.

Consistent with the PRARP's mission and vision, the program faces 6 overarching challenges for FY21. These overarching challenges represent longstanding research goals for the program:

  • Foundational Research: Research to examine the interrelationship between military service-related risk factors and subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Paucity of Clinical Studies: The paucity of clinical studies to examine the interrelationship between military service-related risk factors and subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Diagnostics and Prognostics: The need for technologies, tests, surveys, questionnaires, devices, biomarkers, or analyses to detect the relationship between military service-related risk factors and AD/ADRD.
  • Epidemiology: The need for epidemiological research to examine the interrelationship between military service, risk and resiliency factors, and subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Quality of Life: The need for technologies, assessments, interventions, or devices to benefit individuals living with the symptoms of AD/ADRD, especially affected Service members and Veterans.
  • Family and Care Support: The need for technologies, assessments, interventions, or devices that enhance the lives of those providing care to those living with the symptoms of AD/ADRD, especially to Service members and Veterans.

The PRARP has identified 8 Military Risk Factors which are viewed as avenues towards addressing the FY21 PRARP Overarching Challenges. These represent Military Risk Factors most suited to the PRARP's Overarching Challenges:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury: Studies investigating how head injuries function as risk factors for subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Neuropsychological/Neurobehavioral: Alterations in cognition or behavior that may be associated with subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Modifiable Risk Factors: Alterations in activities (e.g., exercise, diet, behaviors, etc.) that may be associated with subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Vascular: Studies investigating the vascular (e.g., heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia) contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia risk factors for subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Inflammation: Evaluating the pathways of peripheral and brain inflammation and its relationship to subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Genetic: Genomic analyses or genetic manipulations that investigate the linkages with subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Metabolic: Alterations in bioenergetics (e.g., diabetes, brain metabolism, endocrine dysfunction) that may be associated with subsequent AD/ADRD.
  • Sleep: Alterations in sleep patterns (e.g., physiological changes or glymphatic changes) that may be associated with subsequent AD/ADRD.

Congressional Appropriations

Congressional
Appropriations

  • $123 million
    FY11-FY19
  • $15 million
    FY20

Funding Summary

Funding
Summary


Alternate Text

International Alzheimer's Disease Research Portfolio

Dr. Michael Jaffee

University of Florida
Collaborating on Military Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

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A Link between TBI and Alzheimer's Disease?
The Advocate's Perspective

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Vision

To address the long-term implications of military service as they pertain to Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias

Mission

Devoted to (1) understanding the association between military service-related risk factors and Alzheimer’s disease/Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias, and (2) reducing the burden on affected individuals and caregivers, especially in the military and Veteran communities

Last updated Wednesday, January 20, 2021