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Alzheimer’s Association Honors Michael Weiner, M.D., with a Lifetime Achievement Award During the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference®
THE AWARD RECOGNIZES WEINER’S TRANSFORMATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS TO ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND DEMENTIA RESEARCH
(San Francisco, CA) August 31, 2021 — Michael Weiner, M.D., has brains on his mind. Weiner has dedicated more than 30 years to researching the causes, detection, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia. On July 26, 2021, the Alzheimer’s Association presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to him, recognizing his tireless efforts to develop impactful treatments and diagnostics.
Weiner was one of seven researchers to earn an award at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®) 2021. AAIC® presents awards recognizing innovative achievements and contributions to the field of Alzheimer’s and dementia science.
“I don’t feel deserving of this award,” Weiner said in his award acceptance speech, and acknowledged the people who helped propel his research – colleagues, research assistants, team members, study coordinators, and study participants. “It’s never about one person. It’s always teams and groups of teams in a field that get things done.”
Weiner is a Professor in Residence in Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurology at the University of California San Francisco (USCF).
In 2014, he launched the Brain Health Registry (BHR) to leverage the reach of the internet to advance his research. Participants take game-like online brain tests and complete questionnaires on their health, lifestyle, and memory, all of which provides information which helps the BHR team discover better ways to study, detect, and treat AD. “I’m an extremely curious person,” Weiner said. “I like the excitement of discovery.”
Weiner’s passion for brain health drives him to continue learning more about AD and dementia. “There’s so much more to do. Right now, our study results are not broadly applicable to the general public. Most clinical research is done on healthy, educated, affluent white people. We haven’t intentionally excluded anyone, but we didn’t focus resources on recruiting other volunteers, either.
“We have a lot of problems with racism and inequities in America,” Weiner said. “When George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Black Lives Matter were on everyone’s minds, I did some soul searching about what I could do. I have an opportunity to use my leadership position to bring change.
“In the past, we didn’t put our resources into reaching communities in culturally appropriate ways. We haven’t done enough to reduce mistrust and make all people feel welcome.
“Now my team is making a big effort to recruit people from underrepresented groups — Black people, Latino/x people, Asian people, and especially people of all colors who experience the disparities of lack of good education, healthcare, and financial resources. The team includes a number of physicians who are scientists and are from those communities.
“It feels good to use my passion to change the world,” Weiner said.
Alzheimer’s disease research is reaching a more advanced stage due to new technological developments. Brain imaging with positron emission tomography (PET scans) can now diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in living people and new blood tests have been developed which also provide diagnostic information. The FDA recently approved Aduhelm, a treatment which removes amyloid plaques from the brain, which have been linked to Alzhemier’s disease. Several other treatments have been provided with FDA Breakthrough designation, which may lead to approval and more treatments for Alzheimer’s. More exciting developments are expected in the near future.
About the Brain Health Registry
The Brain Health Registry (BHR) is an online website and registry for recruitment, assessment, and longitudinal monitoring of cognition, function, and health in adult volunteers. The overall mission of the Brain Health Registry is to accelerate the development and implementation of improved diagnostic methods and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other disorders impacting cognitive and functional impairment. For more information, visit the Brain Health Registry website.
About the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®)
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest gathering of researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As a part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s research program, AAIC serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia and fostering a vital, collegial research community.
About the Alzheimer’s Association®
The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. For more information, visit alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900
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