Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc., an independent Alzheimer’s disease research advocacy organization, has launched “10% for Germs”, a grassroots citizens, patients, and caregivers campaign to demand the National Institutes of Health (NIH) immediately allocate $230 million for research grants to determine the roles of germs in causing Alzheimer’s, announced its CEO, Leslie Norins, M.D, Ph.D. (Watch full video below)
The “10%” indicates $230 million is ten percent of the record-setting $2.3 billion Congress recently gave NIH for this year of Alzheimer’s research. Based on past patterns, little would be spent investigating the role of bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents.
“In the past twelve months many top scientists have told me the hottest new leads are that Alzheimer’s is triggered by infectious agents. But investigators are stalled because the NIH won’t fund this research to a significant extent”, he says.
“This is a roadblock because the NIH has a virtual monopoly on big dollars for Alzheimer’s research. Its budget this year is $2.3 billion, while the runner-up, the Alzheimer’s Association, awards only $40 million. That NIH research money is 57.5 times greater and is 98.3 percent of their combined total.
Dr. Norins says another problem is a judging mismatch. He offers a baking analogy. “Experts on judging ryebreads are not expert at judging wedding cakes.”
He explains, “Until now, most scientists on NIH’s Alzheimer’s grant judging panels have been experts on the old suspects, the brain proteins amyloid and tau. Let’s call those ryebreads. Few have expertise in judging infectious agents, which I’ll call wedding cakes. So, of course excellent wedding cake proposals have not been awarded grants, because they’re not ryebreads.”
He says NIH must promptly assemble an Alzheimer’s judging panel expert in evaluating “wedding cakes”, i.e., grant proposals to investigate infectious agents. Disburse $230 million, ten percent of the $2.3 billion budget, to meritorious ones. “That still leaves NIH 90 percent, a comfortable $2.1 billion, for research on the traditional subjects it has favored.”
“Change must come from the top,” Dr. Norins says, pointing to Congress and the NIH director. He says, “At lower levels the cult of amyloid/tau is entrenched, and it will not add infectious agents research without insistence from the higher-ups.”
Dr. Norins urges concerned citizens and patients’ families to email their Congressperson and the NIH Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) to demand allocating the $230 million. An explanatory video and a national advertisement have also been released.
Alzheimer’s afflicts an estimated five million Americans, and 303 die from it every day. Its cause is unknown and there is still no cure, 112 years after Dr. Alois Alzheimer first described it.
Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. is a public benefit corporation headquartered in Naples, Florida. It sponsors the $1 Million Challenge Award for the scientist who provides proof a germ triggers Alzheimer’s disease. Donations are neither solicited nor accepted.