The future of Alzheimer’s research got a boost on Wednesday with a $33 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to test Alzheimer’s drugs on healthy people who have a high risk of contracting the disease, according to press release from the NIH.

“As many as 5 million Americans face the challenge of Alzheimer’s disease, which robs them of their memories, their independence, and ultimately, their lives,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, said in a statement. “We are determined, even in a time of constrained fiscal resources, to capitalize on exciting scientific opportunities to advance understanding of Alzheimer’s biology and find effective therapies as quickly as possible.”

The money will be used to fund a study of 650 healthy adults, between the ages of 60 to 75, who have genetic risk-factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s. Researchers are hoping that the randomized, placebo-controlled trial will help provide insight into ways to ward off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in high-risk populations.

Participants for the study will be recruited through the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. In order to encourage enrollment in the registry and advance awareness of the disease, The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute has announced plans to launch a campaign to urge more people to sign up.

According to the NIH, several large companies including Bank of America, GE Healthcare, Janssen Research and Development, LLC., and Merck have also committed to encouraging their employees to enroll.

For more information on the Alzheimer's Prevention Registry, go to http://www.endalznow.org/

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