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June 9, 2004

Blagojevich announces grants for Alzheimer’s disease research in Illinois
Funds generated by voluntary taxpayer contributions

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an ongoing effort to help unravel the medical mystery of Alzheimer’s disease, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the awarding of six grants totaling $195,000 to Illinois researchers who are trying to find a cure or improve treatment for the degenerative brain disorder.
“Alzheimer’s proceeds relentlessly, first stripping its unsuspecting victim of their memory before it ultimately takes their life.  I am proud that the generous contributions of our citizens will help further the scientific momentum that is necessary to solve this baffling ailment," said Governor Blagojevich.
Funding for the grants comes from the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund (ADRF), a special fund to which taxpayers can contribute through their IL-1040 income tax returns.  Since the fund first appeared on the 1985 state tax form, taxpayers have contributed nearly $2.8 million to support 124 research projects in Illinois.
“It is our belief that money donated by Illinois taxpayers will play a role in finding a cure or treatment for a disease that has major implications for an aging population,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.  
Victims of the age-related form of dementia suffer a progressive loss of memory, attention span and the ability to learn.  The disease afflicts about 4.5 million Americans, including an estimated 210,600 in Illinois, and is expected to reach three times that number by mid-century.
Grant requests were reviewed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, which oversees the special taxpayer fund, in consultation with the Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Act Advisory Committee and Peer Review Panel.  Members of the advisory committee include professionals who work with people with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers, victims’ family members and representatives of the general public.
Following are the six recipients of this year’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund:
  • Sarah Cole, Northwestern University, Chicago, “The Effect of Statins of APP Processing,” $35,000
  • Li Liu, University of Chicago, “The Role of Alzheimer’s Disease Associated Presenilin 1 in Synaptic Structure and Function,” $35,000
  • Mary Ellen McAsey, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, “The Effect of Estrogen on Neurite Growth and Synaptic Density,” $30,000
  • Britto P. Nathan, Ph.D., Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, “Transgenic Models to Study the Role of ApoE in Alzheimer’s Disease,” $30,000
  • Sant P. Singh, M.D., Veterans Affairs Medical Center, North Chicago, “Diminished Brain Glucose Uptake in Alzheimer’s Disease: Role of Plasma Membrane Lipids and Effects of Statins,” $30,000
  • Kulandiavelu S. Vetrivel, University of Chicago,The Mechanism and Role of Lipid Raft Association/Residence of PS1/Gamma-Secretase Complex in APP Processing,” $35,000               
Contributions to Illinois’ voluntary income tax funds must generate a minimum of $100,000 by October 1 each year to remain on the IL-1040 forms.  As of June 8, nearly 14,000 Illinois taxpayers had donated $151,952 to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund this year, ensuring that the fund will appear on Illinois tax forms (2004 taxes, payable in 2005) for the 20th consecutive year.


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