UTSA Focuses on Alzheimer's Research

by Morgan Montalvo

WOAI News

UTSA’s  College of Science has been chosen to distribute $5 million in prizes  to whoever can best collect and centralize Alzheimer’s Disease research  from around the world, WOAI News reports. 

The  Oskar Fischer Program, named for an early dementia researcher whose  work was cut short by internment and death in a Nazi concentration camp,  will offer a first prize of $2 million, two second prizes of $500,000  each, and four additional $250,000 awards, says the competition’s donor,  retired National Instruments Corp. President and CEO James Truchard of  Austin. 

“Oskar  Fischer published on a dozen patients with the symptoms that now are  called Alzheimer’s Disease with pictures, drawings,” Truchard says, “the  same year that Alzheimer published on one early-onset Alzheimer’s  patient.” 

Truchard  says he decided upon a first-prize award substantial enough to attract  individuals or teams talented enough to pull together and catalog  decades and billions of dollars’ worth of experimentation and  approximately 130,000 published research reports. 

“I  chose two million because I felt it would bring out more folks who  really would put some serious effort into trying to figure out the best  explanation,” says Truchard. 

He  says a simple explanation for Alzheimer’s Disease could already be out  there, but to date undiscovered because research and findings, like  puzzle pieces, can exist in isolation from each other.

Truchard  says he chose UTSA as the program manager for the awards because of  work by the school’s Brain Health Consortium on Alzheimer’s Disease and  other neurodegenerative disorders.

The Oskar Fischer Program starts in February 2019 and will continue for two years, at which panelists will select the winners.

According  to current estimates, about 50 million people worldwide suffer from  dementia. The number of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is expected to  more than triple by 2050.

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