Alzheimer's Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

20. What is basic research and why is it an important part of Alzheimer's disease research?

Basic research helps scientists gain new knowledge about a disease process, including how and why it starts and progresses. In Alzheimer’s disease, basic research seeks to identify the cellular, molecular, and genetic processes that lead to the disease. For example, scientists are studying

  • the ways in which plaques and tangles damage nerve cells in the brain
  • the very earliest brain changes in the disease process
  • the role of Alzheimer’s risk-factor genes in the development of the disease
  • how risk-factor genes interact with other genes and lifestyle or environmental factors to affect Alzheimer’s risk.

See the latest Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report to read about results of NIA-supported Alzheimer’s research.