UT Health labs show recent Alzheimer's research to members of Congress

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - Alzheimer's disease cannot be prevented, cured or slowed and it can affect anyone. That’s why members of Congress got an inside look Wednesday at how they can help UT Health improve the outcome of the disease.

At UT Health labs, researchers look for ways to detect Alzheimer's disease. One possibility is a blood test.

Rodrigo Morales, with the UT Health Department of Neurology, said such a test could save people decades before they receive a diagnosis.

"We are taking a different approach, trying to see the presence of these molecules in the periphery and muscle for example, heart, but particularly in blood," Morales said.

Another researcher, Ines Moreno-Gonzalez, is looking at a link between traumatic brain injuries and Alzheimer's disease.

"We're trying to detect when the Alzheimer's disease is starting so it's better for the patients to get earlier treatment," Moreno-Gonzalez said.

These innovative moves towards a cure are why scientists welcomed several members of Congress into their labs to explain the urgency behind their studies.

A presentation by the Alzheimer's Association demonstrated the need for government help. The association said $236 billion was spent on Alzheimer's disease just this year. It is the sixth-leading cause of death and is moving quickly towards the top. Before things get worse, as the Baby Boomers age, they are seeking ways to slow the damage.

Morales and Moreno-Gonzalez were awarded $100,000 in research grants from the Alzheimer's Association.

Rep. Ted Poe was a host of the event but, due to his recent cancer treatments, he was unable to attend. A moment of silence was held in his honor.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2