Two researchers to receive Potamkin Prize for research on Alzheimer's disease

The American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation are awarding the 2015 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick's, Alzheimer's and Related Diseases to Peter Davies, PhD, of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY, and Reisa A. Sperling, MD, of the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Davies and Sperling will receive the award at the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015. The Annual Meeting is the world's largest gathering of neurologists with more than 12,000 attendees and more than 2,500 scientific presentations on the latest research advances in brain disease.

The Potamkin Prize honors researchers for their work in helping to advance the understanding of Pick's disease, Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. The $100,000 prize is an internationally recognized tribute for advancing dementia research.

Davies' research examines the process of Alzheimer's disease. "The problems with memory and other intellectual function that occur in Alzheimer's disease are accompanied by the development of two abnormal structures in the brain called plaques and tangles," said Davies, whose study is called "Untangling the Process of Alzheimer's Disease." "In contrast to other work in the field, my guiding hypothesis has been that both these abnormalities derive from a disease process in the nerve cells and are consequences of disease, not the cause. Therefore, my research has largely focused on the disease process, and attempting to define points at which intervention is possible. A more detailed understanding of the process is essential to the development of drugs to slow, stop, or even prevent it."

Sperling's research, entitled "Can We Detect and Treat Alzheimer's Disease a Decade Before Dementia?" focuses on identifying the earliest Alzheimer's disease changes in the brain, even before any symptoms present themselves. "We are now running clinical trials of promising therapies aimed at preventing the memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease," she said. "Our hope is that by starting clinical treatment much earlier, before there is already widespread, irreversible damage, that we will have a much better chance at defeating this disease."

"I'm very grateful to the Potamkin family for the encouragement this award offers," said Davies. "Funding for research in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders is vitally important. The Potamkin family has continued to support this work in hopes of helping the millions affected by memory diseases."

Added Sperling, "I am incredibly honored to be included among such a distinguished list of awardees. This award is really a testament to the hard work of many researchers that has led to earlier intervention in Alzheimer's disease."


American Academy of Neurology


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