Bill Gates Invests $50 Million to Alzheimer’s Research

Bill Gates is no stranger to charitable donations and philanthropy. The co-founder of Microsoft has used his wealth to focus on finding cures for infectious disease, promoting education and reducing global poverty. Gates is now focusing his efforts on Alzheimer’s disease through a $50 million donation to the Dementia Discovery Fund.

Bill Gates Invests $50 Million to Alzheimer's Research

Bill Gates/Huffington Post

Learn more about why he is passionate about Alzheimer’s research and how he plans to use his investment to find a cure for the disease.

Bill Gates Invests $50 Million to Alzheimer’s

Bill Gates is continuing his pursuit of philanthropy, this time targeting Alzheimer’s research. He has personally invested $50 million to dementia through the Dementia Discovery Fund.

Bill Gates states that he is personally invested in the fight against Alzheimer’s, drawn by the mystery of the disease and a desire to understand why various drugs have not worked thus far. He says that some of the men in his family have had the disease and he has seen the “human tragedy” of it first hand. In a recent interview he states that he hopes to “get some of the data organized so it’s easier to see what’s going on.”

Gates will use his background in technology to organize data, saying, “With Alzheimer’s we have a lot of trial data including the failed trials, we have long-term studies, really understanding the different factors that contribute, you know how cognition goes along with various biological markers, a great data set will help the researchers.”

He is optimistic about finding a cure for dementia in the next 10-15 years, acknowledging that the tools we have to examine the brain are better and better as is our understanding of genetics and early intervention.

He also acknowledges that there will be a payback for the company that finds a cure saying, “that’s not my primary motivation, but… that’s why we expect the level of investment to go up.”

What do you think about Bill Gates’ donation to Alzheimer’s research? Will his research impact the search for a cure? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Connie Rifenburg

    I would like to thank Mr Gates for his generosity in funding more research for Alzheimer’s. My mother died with this disease (not particularly “from” this disease) but she fell while in a “care” facility. Not only do we need help to find a cure (or even a valid treatment) but in the meantime, we need to raise awareness of the lack of good care options for people with Alzheimer’s. Very few Assisted Living homes are set up to care for the special needs of dementia and Alzheimer’s so they over medicate those in the “active” stage so they aren’t a bother. There are proven ways to really HELP patients to use that repetitive energy such as “fidget blankets” that my crochet friends have figured a way to give those with the need to keep their hands busy, something that has many different textures to Zip, unzip, tie, just feel rough, soft, fuzzy, things over and over. It ties around them like an apron so it doesn’t come off easily. My mother had this habit, but we didn’t know at the time that it was a ‘symptom’ of the disease. I think those people who have dealt with Alzheimer’s in their family should meet with aids working in a home to help the workers understand some of the issues that can be learned just from someone having to adapt their lives previously to care for a family member. Sharing these experiences can add a personal approach to some caretakers. To be able to see the parent or grandparent or brother/sister as they were before this disease made them who they are now. Another thing my mother loved was to hear the old big band music and she would want to dance with my sister and laughed even after the disease had taken her ability to remember how to press the “on” button on the radio or CD player.

    Anyway, as happy as I am that Mr. Gates is helping with the medical side of this disease, I encourage everyone to think about how many of us “baby-boomers” will be looking for a place to care for us – not our parents anymore. The need will be great and overwhelming if we don’t start training people now…. before the rush comes… we’re living longer, it will happen, it’s just a matter of when.

  • Linda Bruce

    Thank you, Bill Gates for working toward a cure for Alzheimer’s. My father recently passed away from this disease . He was a doctor, and very active person in his lifetime, donating much of his time to our community and it’s health care system. To watch him deteriorate like that was heartbreaking! It would be wonderful to find a cure and help keep other families from having to go through that pain. Thank you so much!
    .

  • Zupamum

    Thank you Bill Gates! Boston Magazine December 2017 and check out the work of MIT neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai who hopes to vanquish Alzheimers with simple LEDs!

  • Zupamum’s comment makes sense if he’s referring to the impact artificial light has on sleep, and how sleep affects Alzheimer’s Disease.

    Noting that Dr. Alzheimer first discovered the disease after Thomas Edison’s electric light bulb started allowing people to work longer and stay up later, recent research shows how important good restorative sleep is in both treating dementia patients and prevent Alzheimer’s, which is associated with plaques and tangles.

    The deepest stages of sleep is when the brain decides what memories to store long term, does a lot of its house cleaning, and produces important hormones. According to numerous studies in mice, neurons actually shrink in size during deep sleep so cerebral spinal fluid can circulate more rapidly and flush out beta amyloid protein and other toxins that build up from cell metabolism during the day. We must just extrapolate the mice studies to humans, because examining their brains would kill patients.

    Besides writing at Modern Health Talk, I work with Dr. Bruce Meleski, a sleep wellness expert in Austin, and I’d like to add a perspective on Melatonin, referencing Dr. Russel J. Reiter and his book on the topic. Reiter is a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and is often referred to as the father of Melatonin.

    Besides being the body’s most powerful antioxidant, Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm and promotes sleep in response to darkness and the day/night cycle. Actually, it’s the blue part of the light spectrum between 450-500 nm that the pineal gland responds to, so avoiding all blue light at night helps, and that means choosing the warmer light of incandescent bulbs or color-tuned LEDs. In the morning, bright sunlight or full-spectrum artificial lights suppresses Melatonin production to also help regulate the circadian rhythm.

    I recently learned that the amount of Melatonin we produce naturally decreases with age, so taking supplements is advised. But Melatonin also has a half-life of only about an hour, so can it can help you fall asleep but not necessarily stay asleep. My pharmacy buddies recommend a long-lasting, time-release version, and that’s what my wife and I take. Because supplements lack rigid FDA oversight, make sure you get Melatonin from a reputable source. (from: http://www.mhealthtalk.com/sleep-problems-in-dementia/)

  • Glenda Hayes

    Mr Gates has been generous to donate this money. I wish that his donation would be for all neurological and brain disorder research. Progress in one disease may lead to progress in another. Sadly, we have made little progress in these diseases while we’ve sent people to the moon and have controlled AIDS. Thank you Mr Gates. How awesome to be a part of something with world wide impact!

  • Sandy

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!

  • Gail

    Thank you so much Mr. Gates. I hope the cure comes sooner than later

  • lovethosecats

    Thank you so much Mr. Gates. My mother (94 years old) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it is devastating to see her going through this. I can’t thank you enough for making this commitment contribution to such a deserving cause. God bless you.

  • Cynthia ferraro

    I love the idea that there will be a cure for dementis/Alzheimer’s disease! I praise Bill Gates for his will and determination of figuring this horrible disease out, my mother has moderate to severe dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There are days when she doesn’t know how to get out of my car without assistance, she is only 65 years old and she’s suffered at least 5-8 years with this already. I’ve lost my mother, and to know there will possibly be a cure in 10-15 years excites me!
    Cynthia Ferraro

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