Today’s blog comes from Lydia Lanman, Senior Manager, Policy and Government Relations at Eli Lilly Canada.
A couple of weeks ago, the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) brought researchers and health
care providers from more than 70 countries to Toronto. The discussion focused on the latest developments in
research for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The AAIC represents a unique opportunity to learn
about the recent advancements against Alzheimer’s disease, and to collaborate with the best minds in research.
This year’s conference allowed us to showcase Canada as a global leader in Alzheimer’s and dementia
Reflecting on AAIC, it’s clear that dementia is one of the most critical health challenges facing Canadians today. As of 2016, an estimated 564,000 Canadians are living with dementia and 25,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. It also represents a heavy economic burden, as it costs Canadians $10.4 billion annually to care for those living with dementia. Dementia also disproportionately impacts women: more than 65% of Canadians living with dementia are women aged 65 and older. With these overwhelming figures in mind, AAIC attendees discussed strategies and initiatives to manage the impact of this disease.
AAIC also highlighted the research and innovation that is underway in Canada. Organizations leading these efforts include Brain Canada. It currently funds 19 Alzheimer’s and dementia research projects through the Canada Brain Research Fund, which is valued at $200 million. The Brain Canada-Alzheimer’s Association partnership also awards grants in Alzheimer’s and dementia research that totaled $397,796 in 2015 alone. The Alzheimer Society of Canada has similarly funded Canadian research of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for nearly 28 years, funding over $50 million in grants and awards in that time. Leading up to AAIC, the Weston Brain Institute announced that it would double its funding for Canadian neurodegenerative research, increasing its financial support to $100 million. It’s clear that Canadian researchers are leading the way, and the organizations funding research in this country are prioritizing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Today, there isn’t a treatment available that can slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia, so more work is needed when it comes to investigating and researching these diseases. Continued research is key to supporting those who have Alzheimer’s disease, and those who may develop it in the future. For nearly 30 years, Lilly has been conducting Alzheimer’s research, and we continue to be committed to the ongoing work being done across Canada and around the world.