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Illinois Researcher Awarded $100,000 Potamkin Prize for Dementia Research

LOS ANGELES – The American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation are awarding an Illinois researcher the 2018 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases for his work in dementia research. David A. Bennett, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, will be honored at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21-27, 2018.

Sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of Alzheimer’s research, 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.

Bennett will be recognized for his research on memory loss. Over the past 25 years, Bennett and his team at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center have enrolled nearly 3,500 older people into the Religious Orders Study, a study on memory loss in nuns and priests from across the USA, or the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a similar study of lay persons in northeastern Illinois. Both studies are funded by the National Institutes of Health. Participants do not have dementia when enrolled but some have developed it over time. Every person in these studies is a brain donor and so far, the brains of over 1,500 participants have been donated for further research by Bennett and his team.

“We have measured many things in the brain that we can relate to memory loss over time prior to death and are now using this information to identify new approaches to the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and several other causes of dementia,” said Bennett. “We are very interested in finding potential therapeutic targets and are looking closely at resilience — brain characteristics that allow one person’s brain to be more resilient to developing dementia than another person’s brain.”

Bennett said the data and biospecimens from these studies are shared with researchers around the world to advance the development of therapy to treat and prevent memory loss and dementia.

“Identifying better therapies is among the most urgent public health priorities of this century,” he said. “I am very honored to be receiving this award and am indebted to the Potamkin family for their generous support for this award. I thank the Potamkin committee for this honor.”

The Potamkin Prize is made possible by the philanthropic contributions of the Potamkin family of New York, Philadelphia and Miami. The goal of the prize is to help attract the best medical minds and most dedicated scientists in the world to the field of dementia research. The Potamkin family has been the Academy’s single largest individual donor since 1988, providing more than $2 million to fund the Potamkin Prize.

Learn more about dementia and related diseases at brainandlife.org.

The American Brain Foundation brings researchers and donors together to defeat brain disease. Learn more at www.AmericanBrainFoundation.org.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 34,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit https://www.aan.com or find us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.