Health & Wellness

USU's Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Research Center Featured at Blue Plate Research

By Kirsten Reither |

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Research Center Director Elizabeth Fauth presents at Blue Plate Research on Sept. 28 at Gallivan Hall in in Salt Lake City.

During Utah State University’s latest Blue Plate Research presentation, Elizabeth Fauth reminded the audience of the ubiquity of dementia.

“If you haven’t been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, the probability says you will be,” Fauth said. “That’s why we need to talk about Alzheimer’s disease, and why we need to study it. We need to research the impact on people.”

Fauth, the director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Research Center (ADRC) at Utah State, presented on her research and the impacts of the center. Hosted at Gallivan Hall in downtown Salt Lake City, the Sept. 28 event welcomed an audience of health care workers, researchers, educators, government officials and other interested residents.

The new center recently celebrated its first anniversary and is sponsored by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services as a part of their Alzheimer’s disease state plan. It’s supported by $850,000 of ongoing state funding and is focused on studying dementia from a variety of backgrounds and approaches.

In her presentation, Fauth listed the main goals of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Research Center: Promoting innovative research, training and engaging students to develop a dementia-competent workforce, and filling gaps in supportive services across the state.

“We want to get people out of their research silos and talking to other researchers,” Fauth said about the center’s research. “People tend to know their own discipline really well, and dive in deep, but the cool things happen when people cross-pollinate ideas.”

A primary focus of Fauth’s research is on the relationship between Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

“When we look at who’s providing the care, it’s predominately family members,” Fauth said. “There’s a myth that we put our old people in nursing homes in America. That is absolutely untrue. The vast majority of care is being done by family members. They’re doing it alone. They’re doing it without any other sources of support. They’re doing high-intensity caregiving.”

As part of her caregiver research, Fauth is researching possible interventions to provide a support system for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

“If caregivers seek supportive services,” Fauth said, “and there’s lots of different ways they can do that, we see improvements. Caregivers are not alone in trying to figure out how to help themselves here. These resources work.”

Fauth also took the opportunity to highlight other researchers working with the ADRC. JoAnn Tschahnz is partnering with Brigham Young University to research how dementia affects Pacific Islanders, Naveen Nagaraj is researching hearing loss and brain activity, and Ph.D. student Jacob Gossner is designing an online support program for caregivers.

To watch the full presentation, visit the Office of Research YouTube channel. To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Research Center or to participate in research, visit their website.

Blue Plate Research is hosted by the Utah State University Office of Research and sponsored by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah. The series promotes health and wellbeing research and connects researchers, educators, and legislators.

Learn more about past events at blueplateresearch.usu.edu.

WRITER

Kirsten Reither
Research Communications
kirsten.reither@usu.edu

CONTACT

Alicia Richmond
Director of Public Relations & Marketing
Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services
alicia.richmond@usu.edu

Elizabeth Fauth
Professor
Human Development and Family Studies Department
435-797-1989
beth.fauth@usu.edu


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