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Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

Breadth of NIH-supported research on Alzheimer’s and related dementias

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are a series of complex brain disorders that affect millions of Americans and many more people worldwide. These disorders have an enormous impact on individuals and their families, long-term care facilities, health care providers, health care systems and infrastructure, and the communities in which we all live. As the economic, social, and personal costs of these diseases climb, the research community is working to discover solutions that will improve the lives of those with dementia, their caregivers, and their communities.

The federal government’s Alzheimer’s and related dementias research strategy focuses on engaging a cross-disciplinary team of geneticists, epidemiologists, gerontologists, behavioral scientists, disease and structural biologists, pharmacologists, clinical researchers, and others to bring the greatest and most diverse expertise to the field. This includes training new generations of researchers and clinician-scientists and engaging in innovative partnerships with private industry, nonprofit groups, and more to foster collaboration and broaden access to research resources and data.

Critically, the government’s research strategy includes the search to find treatment and prevention strategies, as well as interventions, services, and supports to improve quality of life for those already living with these diseases and their families.

Challenges for the Alzheimer’s Research Community

Even with the progress that we’ve made, there’s still a lot of work to do before we can find treatment and prevention strategies for the millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementias. These devastating diseases are highly complex conditions caused by an interplay of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. They usually develop gradually — changes in the brain take place over years and even decades, long before the first symptoms appear. This complexity presents challenges to the discovery and development of new drugs and other prevention and treatment approaches.

Researchers believe Alzheimer’s and related dementias will likely require multiple treatments customized to individuals. We also know that as the older population continues to grow — aging remains the most important risk factor for dementia — we will see increased numbers of people living with these diseases. That’s why thousands of researchers around the country are working on this issue.

Setting the Federal Research Agenda

NIH takes a collaborative, methodical approach to reviewing progress, identifying gaps, and setting the future agenda for research into Alzheimer’s and related dementias. NIH funding in this area is guided by gaps and opportunities identified in research summits, which alternate yearly to focus on Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s-related dementias, or dementia care and services. Smaller, focused workshops are held more frequently on specific aspects of this research.

NIH outlines its Alzheimer’s research efforts in the NIH AD/ADRD Research Implementation Milestones, a research framework detailing specific steps and success criteria toward achieving the goals of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. The milestones also showcase funding initiatives, accomplishments, and highlights of progress toward accomplishing the National Plan goals.

NIH’s research progress is highlighted in the annual Alzheimer’s and related dementias professional judgment budget, which is submitted to Congress each year.

What Is a Professional Judgment Budget?

Each year NIH submits a professional judgment budget that estimates the additional funding needed to advance NIH-supported research into the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The report also summarizes progress and promising research opportunities. Only two other areas of biomedical research — cancer and HIV/AIDS — follow a similar process designed to accelerate research discovery. This approach is often referred to as a “bypass budget” because of its direct transmission to the President and then to Congress without modification through the traditional federal budget process.

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You could help discover new ways to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

Find More Resources on Alzheimer’s Research

Explore the resources on this website and linked below to find more information from federal government agencies.

Dementia Research Progress Reports and Bypass Budget Proposals

View professional judgment budgets for Alzheimer’s and related dementias from NIH, including yearly updates on research progress.

AD+ADRD Research Implementation Milestone Database

Browse this database to learn more about research implementation plans and progress toward the goal of treating or preventing Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement (ADORE) Resources

Search this repository of resources to support the recruitment and retention of participants into clinical trials and studies on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Data Sharing Resources for Researchers

Learn about the data sharing policies, considerations, resources, and guidance available to support researchers in safely and efficiently sharing data from their studies.

International Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Research Portfolio (IADRP)

Visit IADRP to search a database of categorized research across public and private sources.

NIA and the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease

Learn about NIA's efforts toward the National Plan and NIH annual summits that shape research priorities.

NIA-Funded Active Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Clinical Trials and Studies

View a list of all active NIA-funded clinical trials, including drug trials, intervention studies, and care and caregiver interventions.

NIA Research Resources

Search for NIA-supported clinical research tools, datasets, samples, visualization tools, and more for Alzheimer’s and related dementias research.

National Strategy for Recruitment and Participation in Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Clinical Research

Read the National Strategy for Recruitment and Participation in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Research and get resources to support study recruitment.

NINDS Focus on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

Read about the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s research into Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias.


Search NIH-funded research in Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

Questions? Contact the ADEAR Center

The Alzheimer’s & related Dementias Education & Referral (ADEAR) Center is a service of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health. Call 800-438-4380 or email to talk with an information specialist.

This content is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.

An official website of the U.S. government, managed by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health