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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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