Artist Paul Cote and Dr. Stephen Salloway, Director of the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, at the Driftwood IV Art Gala for Alzheimer's in Woonsocket, RI, November 10, 2018.Major advances in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease are on the horizon thanks to increasing support for research in recent years. An inspiring example of that support was on display locally on Saturday, November 10, when hundreds of people turned out for the fourth annual Driftwood art gala at The Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, RI. The event raised thousands of dollars to support research at Butler Hospital’s Memory and Aging Program and programs at the Rhode Island Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. The gala is organized by artist Paul Coté, a resident of Cumberland whose works have been exhibited both locally, nationally and around the world. Coté’s father is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and he has also lost four aunts to the disease. Since 2013 he has raised more than $150,000 for Alzheimer’s research and resources through the Driftwood gala and other efforts. The gala featured an exhibition of Coté’s work, which is partly inspired by the struggle and experience of someone progressing through the destructive stages of Alzheimer’s. Coté also unveiled a new art installation at the event, which is comprised of a series of portraits symbolizing the journey of a family that’s dealing with Alzheimer’s in a loved one. Also featured at the event was a live painting exhibition by Coté accompanied by music from DJ Chahkram, as well as performances by the State Ballet of Rhode Island, RI Latino Dance, The Sound of Gravity, The Antonio Forte Trio and TEN31 Productions.

The Power of Bringing Art and Science Together Groundbreaking Local Research Racing Against A Startling Increase in Alzheimer’s

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In her remarks to the crowd, Alzheimer’s Association of Rhode Island Revenue Officer and Development Director Kate Spinella put the urgent need for resources to fight Alzheimer’s into sharp focus. “While deaths from other major causes continue to decrease, new data shows that deaths from Alzheimer’s disease has more than doubled,” she said. “Alzheimer’s disease kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. What’s more it’s the only leading cause of death in the U.S. that can’t be prevented, cured or even slowed. We have a public health crisis on our hands.” But although the ravages of Alzheimer’s are undeniable and mounting, so is hope that researchers are on the cusp of discovering breakthrough treatments that can slow and even someday prevent the disease. The Memory and Aging Program (MAP) at Butler Hospital is at the forefront of this effort. For Coté and his family, the program is also at the heart of their hope for the future of the disease. “[Dr. Stephen Salloway] is at the cutting-edge of research with the studies at Butler,” Coté said. “He’s worked with a lot of my family members, and he’s made an impact against the disease. He’s making a change, he’s making a difference.” Dr. Salloway is director of the Memory and Aging Program and the Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. “Paul and I may not look much alike, but we’re brothers; brothers in the war on Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Salloway said. “So thank you, brother, for your dedication to this cause and for showing us the power of bringing art and science together.” Dr. Salloway shared some highlights of the developing breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research, including a new study the MAP team will soon be embarking upon. “Support from tonight’s event to our program will help purchase an advanced retinal scanner for our work in two new studies that are leading to the use of a simple eye exam to detect Alzheimer’s risk. If we can predict whether an individual will develop Alzheimer’s, that will allow us to provide earlier and more effective treatments as they become available, and perhaps someday even prevent the disease from developing. We hope that some of you will participate in this new landmark trial,” Dr. Salloway said. “It’s a terrible disease, but we are making significant progress, and research equals hope. It is our goal to give every eligible Rhode Islander the chance to participate in Alzheimer’s research over the next few years, and you’ll be hearing more and more about this. I encourage you to join our Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry, and we’re also looking for volunteers to help in our outreach programs as well.” For more information about the Memory and Aging Program, visit butler.org/memory or call (401) 455-6402.  

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The Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital is a world-wide leader in the fight against Alzheimer's. We are dedicated to developing breakthrough treatments for Alzheimer's disease through cutting-edge research into early detection and treatment.

Our research and future breakthroughs depend on the participation of people with normal memory who may be at risk for dementia and those who are already experiencing memory loss, as well as the support of committed community partners, supporters and volunteers.

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