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Duke-UNC ADRC Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease Research

We at the Duke-UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) are troubled by the recently reported research misconduct by an Alzheimer’s researcher at another university. Our Center is built on the idea that Alzheimer’s disease can only be combatted through collaboration, innovation, and rigorous research. Although the allegations in the report do not involve our Center or investigators, we take issue with any data falsification in our field: it is an abuse of public trust and research funding. 

 The reported research fabrication used research in mice to advance an idea that is actually a central idea in Alzheimer’s research: that Alzheimer’s disease may be uniquely caused by buildup of certain proteins, beta-amyloids, in nerve tissue and the brain. However, so far, reducing beta-amyloid buildup in high-risk older adults has not led to clearly effective treatment for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  

Despite disappointing results from recent drug trials, we believe that the work of Duke-UNC ADRC members will result in effective preventive and treatment strategies. Importantly, our research approach does not center on any one biological theory. Instead, our research approach at the Duke-UNC ADRC builds from broad, interdisciplinary perspectives on dementia. We support research on many contributing causes of mental decline associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. These contributing causes range from biological mechanisms (like metabolism, epigenetics, or sensory loss) to environmental factors (like nutrition and the microbiome), all the way upstream to sociocultural and psychosocial factors (like long-term stress and social isolation). By encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, the Duke-UNC ADRC advances innovation and the generation of original ideas, especially into under-studied factors that may cause and treat Alzheimer’s Disease. We celebrate research results that are true and repeatable, even when findings are not what the investigator hoped or expected.

We will continue to be an ADRC that promotes accuracy in all our clinical trials, data evaluations, and communications within the field of Alzheimer’s disease, with the public, and most importantly, with our patients.  

 If you have any questions about the Duke-UNC ADRC, our research, or Alzheimer’s disease in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at adrc@duke.edu.