Focus on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

Focus on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

Picture of sketch of brain being erased

NINDS Program Description

What is AD/ADRD?

Dementia conveys substantial health and financial costs, affecting more than 47 million people worldwide. Alzheimer’s disease alone, as one dementia disorder, affects more than 5 million people in the U.S. The toll on individuals, caregivers and society is enormous and is expected to increase as the population ages. NINDS collaborates with NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) to establish research priorities and fund research in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (ADRD). 

The ADRD include:

Congressional appropriations to the NIH in Fiscal Years 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 provided a generous boost in funding for AD and ADRD research. As a lead NIH Institute for research on ADRD, NINDS collaborates with the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the lead NIH Institute for AD research, to put these funds to work by creating new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) and extending the payline for meritorious investigator-initiated projects on AD/ADRD. Going forward, NINDS and NIA will continue to partner in AD/ADRD research planning and implementation, and we urge the research community to join in our efforts to accelerate scientific progress toward reducing the enormous burden and cost of dementia.

The NINDS encourages eligible NINDS Alzheimer's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias (AD/ADRD) initiative awardees to apply for Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-18-906).  Please read NOT-NS-19-003 for full details

  • Mechanistic Basis of TDP-43 Dependent Pathobiology in Common Dementias (R01)
  • Peripheral Pathology in the Lewy Body Dementias (R01)
  • Progression Markers for Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disase Dementia (R01)
  • Single Cell Characterization of Pathologically and Clinically Defined ADRD Autopsy Tisse (R01)
  • Mechanistic Basis of Diffuse White Matter Disease in Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia (R01)
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Blood-Brain Barrier Function and Dysfunction in Dementia (R01)
  • White Mater Disease Etiology of Dementia in the U.S. Including in Health Dispairities Population (U19)
  • VCID Biomarker and Interventional Clinical Trials Planning (U01).


AD/ADRD - At-A-Glance

  • AD affects more than 5 million people in the U.S.
  • FTD is the leading cause of dementia in people under age 60
  • LBD affects more than 1 million Americans and slightly more men than women
  • Cerebrovascular disease often co-occurs with AD
  • Reducing vascular risk factors may reduce risk for dementia
  • The majority of all dementia cases (age 65+) are mixed dementias, mainly Alzheimer’s pathology mixed with cerebrovascular disease and/or Lewy bodies
  • No known treatments prevent AD/ADRD onset or progression

Extended Payline for AD/ADRD Investigator-initiated Research

Since FY2016, the NIA has utilized a higher pay line for AD/ADRD research to support investigator-initiated research grants, which it extends to NINDS for applications that meet this bar. This pay line is considerably higher than the pay line for other types of research in either NINDS or NIA. NINDS remains very interested in grant submissions focused on innovative ideas that could lead to prevention or effective treatment of AD/ADRD. 

NIH Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories

Research/Disease Areas* FY 2016

FY 2017

FY 2018
FY 2019
Alzheimer's Disease Including
Alzheimer's Disease Related
Dementias (AD/ADRD)
$986 $1,423 $1,911 $2,468
Alzheimer's Disease $929 $1,361 $1,789 $2,305
Alzheimer's Disease Related
Dementias (ADRD)
$175 $249 $387 $503

*Dollars in millions and rounded

Proceedings & Outcomes

ADRD 2016 summit poster

AD/ADRD Summits

The National Plan’s Goal 1 aims to prevent and effectively treat (delay onset, slow progression of) AD/ADRD by 2025. To help achieve Goal 1, and as a federal action specified in the National Plan, periodic summits are held to set and refine AD/ADRD research priorities in the National Plan. Visit the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) to learn more about the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit 2019

Alzheimer's Research Summit 2018

Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit 2016; Proceedings article summarizing the 2016 Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit

Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit 2015

Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit Conference 2013; Proceedings article summarizing the 2013 Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Confrence

Resources and Tools

Research priorities for ADRD are identified and updated through periodic NIH-hosted ADRD Summits.

IADRP reports categories of funded research supported by public and private organizations both in the US and abroad all categorized using the Common Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Research Ontology (CADRO)

A national database of standardized clinical and neuropathological research data (NIA/NIH). The standardized data and neuropathology data are collected at the NIA funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers.

Tool for tracking funding initiatives and activities aimed at achieving the Research Milestones that were developed from NIH-hosted AD and ADRD Summits. 

NCRAD is an NIA funded biorepository for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias studies.  NCRAD banks a variety of biospecimens including DNA, RNA, plasma, serum, CSF, LCLs, and PBMCs

Available cell sources currently include fibroblasts and/or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

BioSEND currently banks a variety of biospecimens including DNA, plasma, serum, RNA, CSF, and saliva from 16 different biomarker studies that focus on neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Housing over  DNA samples and cell lines.

AlzPED serves as a knowledge platform for the dissemination of data and analysis in a manner that promotes efficiency, transparency, reproducibility and accuracy of research aimed at preclinical therapy development for AD.