Press Release

November 9, 2008


Governor Blagojevich Announces Nearly $200,000 in Research Grants to Study Alzheimer’s Disease

Governor proclaims November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 

CHICAGO, Ill. – To aid in the research, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $190,000 in grants generated by the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund. The fund was created through donations made by Illinois taxpayers on their 2007 Illinois individual income tax returns. In an effort to promote advocacy activities, the study of Alzheimer’s disease and to honor those whose lives have been impacted by it, the Governor also proclaimed November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Illinois.

“We are working hard to raise money for the research that will make a difference in lives of those living with Alzheimer’s, and also to help find a way to prevent our loved ones from the feeling the agony of this disease,” said Governor Blagojevich. “I’m happy to see that so many Illinoisans have contributed to this special fund and encourage them to continue their support.”

Money contributed to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund is used to find a cause, cure and more effective ways to diagnose and treat this debilitating disease, which afflicts more than 200,000 people in Illinois. Victims of this age-related form of dementia suffer a progressive loss of memory, attention span and the ability to learn. Since the fund first appeared on the 1985 state 1040 tax form, taxpayers have contributed more than $3.2 million to support 147 research projects. Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in Illinois for people 65 and older.

“Research is vital to Alzheimer’s disease because there is no cure. These grants will help researchers come one step closer to finding a cure for this debilitating disease and will help many Illinoisans find hope that there someday may be a cure,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health Director.

Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable, progressive degenerative disease of the brain. It is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is not just memory loss, it is also a decline in the ability to think and understand. Consequent changes in personality are accompanied by an inability to function. The type, severity, sequence, and progression of the mental changes vary widely among individuals. While it most frequently affects older individuals, Alzheimer’s disease is not a part of normal aging.

More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and more than 210,000 live in Illinois. Unless a cure or prevention for the disease is found, this number is expected to increase as the population ages; an estimated 16 million Americans will be stricken with Alzheimer’s by 2050.

“Alzheimer's is a debilitating disease that can have a devastating affect on the person affected and their family,” said Illinois Department on Aging Director Charles D. Johnson. “Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's, but there are treatments and assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected. Illinois Care Rx is an optional benefit for eligible seniors that helps pay for approved medications to treat Alzheimer’s.”

For more information about programs and services, call the Illinois Department on Aging at 800-252-8966 or for TTY (hearing impaired use only) call 888-206-1327.

To make a direct contribution to the Alzheimer’s tax check off fund, send a check payable to the Illinois Department of Public Health, P.O. Box 4263, Springfield, IL 62708. The designated fund should be clearly noted on the check.

Following is the list of FY09 Alzheimer’s Research grant recipients:

Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund
Fiscal Year 2009 Awards




Southern IL University School of Medicine

Xiao-Xin Yan, MD


The University of Chicago

Xavier Meckler, Ph.D.


Rush University Medical Center

Scott E. Counts, Ph.D.


Loyola University Chicago

Robert Mitchell, Ph.D.


University of IL at Chicago

Orly Lazarov and CoPI John Larson


Northwestern University

Ling Guo, MD


The text of the Governor’s proclamation follows:


today, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s throughout the United States. In the State of Illinois, there are more than 210,000 adults currently afflicted by the disease; and




a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior, and usually begins gradually, causing a person to forget recent events and to have difficulty performing familiar tasks; and




1 in 8 adults age 65 and over, and nearly half of those over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s, as well as a small percentage of Americans under 65; and




Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of the death in the United States; and




those who have Alzheimer’s live an average of 20 years from the onset of symptoms, and only an average of 7 years after diagnosis; and




unfortunately, there is no form of prevention or known cure for Alzheimer’s, and unless any are found, it is estimated that as many as 16 million Americans may have the disease by the year 2050; and




the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and the reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health; and




the month of November has been set aside as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month to promote advocacy activities and the study of Alzheimer’s disease and to honor those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s:


THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim November 2008 as ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH in Illinois to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, and in support of efforts to combat this debilitating disease that affects so many families in our state.


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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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