Press Release

October 20, 2006


State public health director thanks Illinoisans for generosity, announces more than $200,000 in Alzheimer’s research grants

 Tax check-off funds six research grants  

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced six grants totaling $210,472 from the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund to Illinois researchers who are trying to find a cure or improve treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Unless a cure or prevention is found, an estimated 14 million Americans will be stricken with Alzheimer’s disease by 2050,” said Dr. Whitaker. “I am very thankful to the citizens of Illinois for contributing to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund, which will allow researchers to continue to investigate the cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease as well as looking for ways to improve care.”

The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund is a special fund which taxpayers can contribute through their IL-1040 income tax returns. Since the fund first appeared on the 1985 state tax form, taxpayers have contributed approximately $3.3 million to support more than 130 research projects in Illinois.

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, however. It is also a decline in the ability to think and understand. 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.

Approximately 211,000 people in Illinois have Alzheimer’s disease and the number is expected to increase as the population ages. About one in 10 persons 65 years of age and older, and almost half of those 85 years of age and older, develop Alzheimer’s disease. More than 70 percent of those suffering with Alzheimer’s live at home where the majority of their care is provided by family and friends. The direct and indirect financial toll of Alzheimer’s disease in Illinois is more than $5.2 billion annually.

“Today there is a new and hopeful reality in Alzheimer research,” said Kent Barnheiser, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Illinois Chapter.  “Because of significant progress in the last 15 years here in Illinois and worldwide, we anticipate that in the next decade we will see breakthroughs in Alzheimer treatments and prevention and have even more research on effective care and support to improve quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers over the course of the disease.”

Grant requests were reviewed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, which administers the special taxpayer fund, in consultation with the Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Act Advisory Committee and Peer Review Panel. Members of the advisory committee include professionals who work with people with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers, victims’ family members and representatives of the general public.

Following are the six recipients of this year’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund:



Title of Project


Xiangying Cheng, MD, MS

SIU School of Medicine

The Role of Estrogen on Lipid Internalization in Neurons



Jay Gottfried, MD, PhD

Northwestern University

Olfactory Imaging Probes of Limbic Dysfunction in Aging and Dementia



Ling Guo

Northwestern University

Novel AD Therapeutics that Target Glia Activation



Britto Nathan, PhD

Eastern Illinois University

Estrogen and Alzheimer’s Disease



Hayat Onyuksel, PhD

University of Illinois at Chicago

A Potential Novel Nanomedicine for Alzheimer’s Disease



Sreepadma Sonty

Northwestern University

Neuroimaging of Name-Object Associations in Primary Progressive Aphasia


Contributions to Illinois’ voluntary income tax funds must generate a minimum of $100,000 by October 1 each year to remain on the IL-1040 forms.

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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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