On July 21, Science published an article detailing possible misconduct in some influential 2006 US research on the potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease. These reports have raised questions about the overall nature of funding research on the causes of Alzheimer's disease.
The allegations of misconduct and fraud raised in this article about that 2006 amyloid beta hypothesis study are a serious concern and require deeper inquiry. Scientific integrity is crucial, and any potential diversion of money or time is a cause for concern.
Science and research are a cumulative and complex effort. Already, for many years, many scientists have been testing out other hypotheses for Alzheimer's disease development such as tau protein, inflammation, acetylcholine, reelin and isoprenoid changes, along with amyloid beta, precisely because we don’t yet know for certain what exactly causes Alzheimer's disease.
Reputable research goes through rigorous review by experts during funding and publishing processes.
Rigorous review also applies to the research studies on various possible causes of Alzheimer's disease that have been funded by the Alzheimer Society Research Program. The Alzheimer Society of Canada has invested more than $67 million in grants and awards to fund innovative research on dementia-related issues. Before receiving funding, grant applications are rigorously reviewed by subject matter experts in a multi-stage process called peer review. Our standards are equal to those required by the Government of Canada’s research funding bodies to ensure our donors’ investments are used wisely.
In 2019, based on the needs identified by the dementia research community, the Alzheimer Society of Canada also developed a new funding initiative known as the Proof of Concept grant program. This program is designed specifically to support researchers in exploring innovative and lesser explored theories.
The only hope of a world without dementia is for greater efforts to promote research that could lead to a better understanding of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
While the research into the causes of dementia is ongoing, we also fund research into care and improving care. We continue to advocate for those who are already living with dementia and those who provide care to promote a better quality of life. We continue to call on governments at all levels to invest more in research programs to help create a world without dementia. And we also continue to provide support for people living with dementia and their care partners.
The Alzheimer Society of Canada will continue to monitor the latest research and developments in this case and others related dementia.