Doctor: Bill Gates donation could have huge impact on research

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Bill Gates announced he is donating $50 million to studying Alzheimer’s, something researchers at Butler Hospital’s Memory and Aging Program say is desperately needed.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that 5.5 million Americans and their families are dealing with every day.

“It’s progressive and currently we have no cure, so we’ve essentially at this point all been touched personally by Alzheimer’s disease in some way,” Dr. Danielle Goldfarb, a neurologist and psychiatrist in the hospital’s program, said. “The impact on the individual is of course, devastating, and on the family as well.”

Dr. Goldfarb is said in the program she sees patients and conducts Alzheimer’s research. She expects Gates’ donation to the Dementia Discovery Fund to have a huge impact on her field.

“What this funding is doing is, he is taking a different approach, he is looking outside of the box into different ways to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease,” she added.

Dr. Goldfarb said the funding will expand the scope of the research that is currently being done to include studies such as immunology and how that impacts the brain, with the goal of preventing the disease.

“What they are trying to do is bring together the heads of the field in research, Alzhiemer’s research, pharmaceutical companies, academia and investors putting their heads together and learning from all the previous trials and the mistakes that were made, and they are essentially creating an Alzehimer’s cure incubator,” she said.

One of Butler Hospital’s current research initiatives is an Alzheimer’s prevention registry. They are asking Rhode Islanders 55 and older who are interested in getting involved in the research to visit their website for more information or contact them by phone at (401) 455-6402.