In August, 152 women met on the field for the 10th annual Blondes vs. Brunettes Dallas (BvB), a flag football game that raises money for Alzheimer’s disease research and awareness. Each participant raised a minimum of $1,250 to earn a spot on the gridiron, and the event generated $650,000 to support research at UT Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth and Center for Vital Longevity, as well as Baylor AT&T Memory Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center.
“We are very fortunate that the Dallas community provides our organization with the opportunity to fund research projects in our own backyard,” said Katie Morgan, BvB Dallas co-president. “Partnering with facilities like the Center for Vital Longevity and the Center for BrainHealth gives us the ability to see our funds at work and to learn from the scientists conducting cutting-edge research.”
BvB’s contributions to the Center for Vital Longevity will support research aiming to understand the signs of healthy aging compared to that of early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Using a variety of brain scanning techniques, the center’s team of scientists will investigate the idea that changes in the aging brain may signal a risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
“This grant will allow my laboratory to expand our study of healthy aging into the pathological realm, looking at brain pathology in individuals with mild cognitive impairment, the earliest phase of Alzheimer’s disease development,” said Dr. Karen Rodrigue, assistant professor at the center. “It is an honor to work with BvB to advance Alzheimer’s disease research.”
The Center for BrainHealth is using the funds to launch The Discovery Group, a strength-based program aiming to optimize the abilities of individuals with early stage Alzheimer’s disease. The funding will also help create and pilot targeted education for caregivers, workshops and professional seminars that can be replicated throughout the community. Since 2008, the local event has raised more than $3.4 million for research in North Texas.