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Pooling data to accelerate Alzheimer’s research

Very interesting article in the New York Times on the reasons behind growing research of how to detect Alzheimer’s Disease: Rare Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s (New York Times)

(Situation before) Scientists were looking for biomarkers, but they were not getting very far. “The problem in the field was that you had many different scientists in many different universities doing their own research with their own patients and with their own methods,” said Dr. Michael W. Weiner of the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs, who directs ADNI. “Different people using different methods on different subjects in different places were getting different results, which is not surprising. What was needed was to get everyone together and to get a common data set.”

(Situation now) Companies as well as academic researchers are using the data. There have been more than 3,200 downloads of the entire massive data set and almost a million downloads of the data sets containing images from brain scans.

Comment: as discussed in our recent market report, we’ll probably see sooner rather than later a comparable effort aimed at finding the biological and or cognitive markers for the Cognitive Reserve, the emerging cornerstone for a lifelong mental wellness (vs. a disease-specific) approach. For more on the need to standardize data and care, read interview with Patrick Donohue on Reinventing Brain Care through Policy, Standards, Technology. For more on the Cognitive Reserve, read interview with Dr. Yaakov Stern.

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