The recently announced offering of two research grants by the Infectious Diseases Society of America Foundation signals the timely addition of a relevant medical specialty to those already seeking the causes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), says Leslie Norins, MD, PhD, founder and CEO of Alzheimer’s Germ Quest Inc.
“This is the first time a major group of infectious disease experts feels it is worthwhile to examine the possibility of infection as a root cause of AD,” he says.
Dr. Norins predicts ripple effects far beyond the relatively small dollar amounts offered in these initial “seed research” offerings—$50,000 each—due to the stature of the group involved. The Foundation is the research and education arm of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
“With the recent evidence further implicating herpes virus as a possible trigger for AD, and the new concept that the amyloid plaques and tangles in the afflicted brain may represent the body’s immune reaction to infectious agents, there is no more pertinent specialty than infectious diseases to help extend these beachheads,” he says.
IDSA is the principal U.S. organization for specialists in infectious diseases, Dr. Norins says, and among other activities provides board certification. It has over 11,000 members. He is an emeritus fellow of the group.
Dr. Norins adds, “Despite many clues suggesting infectious agents might be triggering Alzheimer’s disease, until now there have been too few infectious disease experts involved in researching this possibility.” He attributes this lack of prior involvement to the paucity of research funds allocated by government and advocacy group funders for worthwhile investigations on infectious possibilities. “Most of the billions of dollars in AD grant money for years has been reserved for the more traditional studies of amyloid plaques and protein tangles. Now research on germ involvement must get a fair share,” he says.
The grants were made possible by a donation to the Foundation by Dr. Norins and his wife Rainey Norins. Grant applications can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. is a public benefit corporation headquartered in Naples Florida. Its mission is to accelerate and deepen scientific investigations into the possible role of infectious agents as the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease. It is the sponsor of the $1 Million Alzheimer’s Germ Quest Challenge Award for scientists. (ALZgerm.org).