Focus on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

Focus on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

Sketch of brain being erased

NINDS Program Description

What is AD/ADRD?

Alzheimer's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease Related Dementias (AD/ADRD) refers to the most common forms of dementia. Dementia likely affects more than 5 million people in the U.S. and more than 47 million people worldwide. At this time, there are no known treatments to prevent or stop the progression of dementia. The toll on individuals, caregivers and society is enormous and will only increase as the population ages unless effective interventions are developed. NINDS collaborates with NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA), the lead NIH Institute for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, to establish research priorities and fund biomedical research in AD as well as several Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (ADRDs).

While AD is the most common dementia diagnosis, ADRDs share many cognitive and pathological features with and can be difficult to distinguish from AD. In fact, more often than not, patients with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease present with different mixtures of brain pathologies, complicating both the diagnosis, as well as the treatment.

The ADRDs include:

Going forward, NINDS and NIA will continue to partner in AD/ADRD research planning and implementation, and we urge the research community to join in our efforts to accelerate scientific progress toward reducing the enormous burden and cost of dementia.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Concepts Planned for Fiscal Year 2023

We are excited to share with you the research concepts approved by NINDS Council for fiscal year 2023. Please note that this page with be updated periodically with links when funding opportunities are published. These are also announced via our email listserv (to join, please email

It is important to note that a cleared concept doesn’t definitively mean that an award mechanism or funding allocation is imminent or even going to happen. Nothing is official until FOAs are published in the NIH Guide.

Treatments for Lewy Body Dementias & Frontotemporal Degeneration - Exploratory Clinical Trial (Related to RFA-NS-21-008) - Encourage exploratory clinical trials of potential treatments for patients with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) or Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).

Functional Validation of Novel Targets in ADRD (Re-issue RFA-NS-19-015) - Provide the translational scientific community with increased confidence in the efficacy and safety of novel target to trigger customized therapeutic strategies in ADRDs.

Structural Biology of Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias Proteinopathies (Re-issue RFA-NS-18-015) - To characterize the structure of protein aggregates found in the ADRDs at high, atomic-level resolution to facilitate the design of sensitive and specific PET ligands to be used as biomarkers in the ADRDs.

Training Award to Promote Cross-Training in the Fields of TBI in AD/ADRD - Promote crosstalk and interdisciplinary collaboration between TBI and dementia researchers by cross-training postdoctoral fellows and faculty-level candidates with expertise in TBI to train in the field of AD/ADRD.

ADRD, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Social Determinants of Health Ancillary Studies of Existing Longitudinal Cohorts - Encourage research investigating the relationship between social determinants of health, adverse childhood experiences, ADRD biomarkers, and the development of dementia, especially in populations experiencing health disparities.

Early-Stage Therapy Development for ADRD - Successful projects should result in candidate therapeutics that meet the entry criteria for Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN) funding opportunities, or other later stage programs, and facilitate future therapeutic discovery and development for NINDS mission-relevant FTD, LBD, VCID, or MED.

Pragmatic Clinical Trials in Community Settings to Decrease or Prevent VCID Outcomes, Including in Populations that Experience Health Disparities - Encourage the development and implementation of pragmatic clinical trials in community settings to decrease or prevent VCID outcomes, including in populations that experience health disparities.

Postmortem Neuropathology, Cellular, and Molecular Analyses, Including Ex-Vivo Imaging, to Assess the Significance of Human TBI and VCID AD/ADRD-Relevant Imaging and Clinical Findings During Life - Promote in-depth, post-mortem pathological examination and analysis, in combination with analysis of cellular, molecular, and pre- and post-mortem MRI data, of brain lesions resulting from TBI and/or dysfunctional vasculature or vascular processes, such as white matter hyperintensities, infarcts (including cortical microinfarcts), and microbleeds as they relate to postmortem pathology of AD/ADRD.

Impact of the Microbiome Gut-Brain Axis on ADRD - Mechanistic and early translational research focused on a more rigorous in-depth examination of the potential interactions between the gut microbiome and genetic and non-genetic molecular targets known to influence ADRDs.

Connecting Machine Readable Digital Human ADRD Neuropathological Library Platforms for Advanced Analytics ​ - develop AD/ADRD data and metadata standards that enable advanced analytics to be performed through federation of multisite digital neuropathological library of pathology slides.

Somatic Cell Genome Editing for ADRD - Early translational research focused on somatic cell genome editing for ADRDs.

Using Multimodal Biomarkers to Differentially Diagnose ADRDs for Clinical Trials - Enable multi-site clinical validation of a multimodal set of neuroimaging and biospecimen biomarkers to differentially diagnosis three or more similarly presenting neurodegenerative diseases, including at least one of the ADRDs.

Blood Brain Barrier Response to Antibodies Targeting Beta-Amyloid - Promote discovery of cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie brain blood vessels responses to passive anti-beta-amyloid immunotherapy that result in amyloid-related imaging abnormalities.

COVID-19 Related Revisions to NINDS ADRD Human Subjects Cooperative Agreement Programs - Supplement parent ADRD awards to enhance recruitment efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Concepts for Fiscal Year 2022


Biomarkers for the Lewy Body Dementias RFA-NS-22-001. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support hypothesis-driven clinical research applications that are focused on discovering novel diagnostic, prognostic, and/or therapeutic biomarkers for the Lewy Body Dementias (LBD). Biomarker research must be conducted in patients with LBD, must follow Parkinson's Disease Biomarker Program (PDBP) protocols for clinical assessment and biospecimen collection, and must be broadly shareable through the PDBP repositories. The deadline to submit applications has passed.

Clinical and Biological Measures of TBI-related Dementia Including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) PAR-22-024. Investigation of biological and clinical measures of TBI-related and CTE-related progressive neurodegeneration and neurocognitive decline associated with increased risk for dementia. The deadline to submit applications has passed.

Detecting Cognitive Impairment, Including Dementia, in Primary Care and Other Everyday Clinical Settings for the General Public and Health Equity, Pragmatic Clinical Trials (U01 Clinical Trial Required) RFA-NS-22-009. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to invite pragmatic clinical trial applications to test paradigms designed to address the unmet need to detect cognitive impairment, including dementia, in large and diverse populations seen in primary care across the United States when a patient, relative, or care provider indicates concern. The deadline to submit applications has passed.

NINDS Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias (AD/ADRD) Advanced Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (K99/R00 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed) PAR-22-022. The purpose of this program is to support a cohort of new and talented, independent investigators from diverse backgrounds (e.g. see NOT-OD-20-031) conducting AD/ADRD research.

NINDS Institutional AD/ADRD Research Training Program PAR-22-021. The purpose of this FOA is to provide support for institutional research training programs in Alzheimer’s Disease/Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias (AD/ADRD).

Role of Astrocytes in Degeneration of the Neurovascular Unit PAR-22-027. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) invites basic disease-related research to address a gap in the basic research on the mechanisms of reactive astrogliosis in degeneration of the neurovascular unit that contributes to cognitive impairment and dementia. The deadline to submit applications is February 4, 2022.

Prodromal Synaptic and Circuit Changes that Contribute to AD/ADRD Onset and Progression PAR-22-059. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to invite applications that use models to investigate and understand, from a mechanistic standpoint, the earliest synaptic, circuit and network changes that contribute to AD/ADRD disease onset and pathogenesis. Submission deadline is February 4, 2022.

Longitudinal Single Cell Characterization of ADRD Postmortem Tissue (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) PAR-22-029. The purpose of this funding opportunity is to support projects to identify cellular changes in ADRD post-mortem brain tissue across disease progression. The deadline to submit applications has passed.

Multi-Disciplinary Collaborations to Understand Mechanisms of Systemic Immune Signaling and Inflammation in ADRD and its Progression (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) PAR-22-023. Recent findings have raised the hypothesis that systemic immune responses could play direct or indirect roles in brain neurodegeneration leading to AD/ADRD and have been significantly less studied than immune responses confined exclusively to within the brain parenchyma. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support partnerships and new collaborations between neuroscientists and immunologists to expand the research base in this area with the long-term goal of bringing more immunology expertise into the AD/ADRD field and to support further work in this area through investigator-initiated and other mechanisms. The deadline to submit applications has passed.

Leveraging Existing Data Resources for Computational Model and Tool Development to Discover Novel Candidate Mechanisms and Biomarkers for ADRD (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) RFA-NS-22-006. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to expand the use of existing ADRD data resources to drive, via computational model development and dissemination, new discoveries that can lead to better understanding of mechanisms, clinical risk assessment and outcomes, and to identify novel candidate biomarkers for ADRD. The deadline to submit applications has passed.

Clinical Relevance of the Linkage between Environmental Toxicant Exposures and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) PAR-22-048. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) supports mechanistic and early translational research focused on a more rigorous in-depth examination of the potential interactions of environmental toxins with genetic and non-genetic molecular targets known to influence. Submission deadline is March 11, 2022.

Selectively Target Technology Development to Understand How Changes or Dysfunction at the Capillary, Arterioles, and Small Lymphatic Vessels Level Can Have Long-term Impact on AD/ADRD (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) PAR-22-026. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit studies that will advance the mechanistic understanding of small vessel vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) through the development of new technologies and innovative methods that enable the imaging and/or functional assessment of the small blood and lymphatic vessels and perivascular spaces of the brain. The deadline to submit applications has passed.

Postmortem Pathology, Cellular, and Molecular Analyses to Determine the Significance of White Matter Lesions and other Imaging Findings of Presumed Vascular Origin During Life NOT-NS-22-001. This NINDS Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) announces the availability of administrative supplements to support examination of human in-vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of presumed vascular origin (vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia, VCID) as they relate to post-mortem pathology of AD/ADRD. Of interest are brain lesions resulting from dysfunctional vasculature or vascular processes, such as white matter hyperintensities, infarcts (including cortical microinfarcts), and microbleeds, along with cellular, molecular, and in-depth post-mortem imaging and pathological data analysis. Expires April 2, 2022

Adding TBI Assessments to AD/ADRD Cohorts NOT-NS-22-022. These administrative supplements will provide funding to existing NINDS-funded AD/ADRD relevant cohort studies to support the inclusion/addition of NINDS Common Data Elements (CDEs) for life-time exposure to TBI (Ohio State University TBI Identification Form), other FITBIR CDE for life-time TBI exposure measures (e.g. FITBIR Injury History Form) or Brain Injury Screening Questionnaire (BISQ), and other relevant TBI-related NINDS CDEs to current clinical assessment batteries. Data will be available to better understand the prevalence of TBI history in these populations and could be hypothesis generating for studying the pathophysiology underlying TBI as a risk factor for AD/ADRDs. The deadline to submit applications has passed.


NIH Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories

Research/Disease Areas* FY 2016
FY 2017
FY 2018
FY 2019
FY 2020
Alzheimer's Disease Including
Alzheimer's Disease Related
Dementias (AD/ADRD)
$986 $1,423 $1,911 $2,398 $2,869
Alzheimer's Disease $929 $1,361 $1,789 $2,240 $2,683
Frontotemporal Dementia $65 $91 $94 $158 $166
Lewy Body Dementia $22 $31 $38 $66 $84
Vascular Cognitive Impairment/Dementia $89 $130 $259 $299 $362

*Dollars in millions and rounded

Proceedings & Outcomes

AD/ADRD Summits

The National Plan’s Goal 1 aims to prevent and effectively treat (delay onset, slow progression of) AD/ADRD by 2025. To help achieve Goal 1, and as a federal action specified in the National Plan, periodic summits are held to set and refine AD/ADRD research priorities in the National Plan. Visit the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) to learn more about the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s disease.

The next ADRD Summit will be held virtually on March 22 & 23, 2022. The website, including link to free registration, are here: ADRD Summit

Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit 2019

Alzheimer's Research Summit 2018

Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit 2016; Proceedings article summarizing the 2016 Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit

Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit 2015

Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Summit Conference 2013; Proceedings article summarizing the 2013 Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Conference

Resources and Tools

The US federal government's main webpage for information on Alzheimer's disease.

La página web principal del gobierno federal de EE. UU. para obtener información sobre la enfermedad de Alzheimer.

Research priorities for ADRD are identified and updated through periodic NIH-hosted ADRD Summits.

IADRP reports categories of funded research supported by public and private organizations both in the US and abroad all categorized using the Common Alzheimer's and Related Dementias Research Ontology (CADRO)

A national database of standardized clinical and neuropathological research data (NIA/NIH). The standardized data and neuropathology data are collected at the NIA funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers.

Tool for tracking funding initiatives and activities aimed at achieving the Research Milestones that were developed from NIH-hosted AD and ADRD Summits. 

NCRAD is an NIA funded biorepository for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias studies.  NCRAD banks a variety of biospecimens including DNA, RNA, plasma, serum, CSF, LCLs, and PBMCs

Available cell sources currently include fibroblasts and/or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

BioSEND currently banks a variety of biospecimens including DNA, plasma, serum, RNA, CSF, and saliva from 16 different biomarker studies that focus on neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Housing over  DNA samples and cell lines.

AlzPED serves as a knowledge platform for the dissemination of data and analysis in a manner that promotes efficiency, transparency, reproducibility and accuracy of research aimed at preclinical therapy development for AD.

The PDBP facilitates biomarker discovery and validation efforts, leveraging broadly shared clinical and biospecimen data, with the overarching goal of improving clinical trial design and therapeutic development in PD, Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), and Parkinsonisms.

Since 2013, the NIH NeuroBioBank has catalyzed scientific discovery through the centralization of resources aimed at the collection and distribution of human post-mortem brain tissue.

We will create a foundational repository of isogenic induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines using CRISPR/Cas9-based genetic engineering. Our target goals are 132 variants across 72 AD/ADRD genes, 8 of which are known AD-related genes, 15 are genes linked to Dementia with Lewy Bodies/Parkinson’s Disease, 28 genes are associated with Frontotemporal Dementia/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and 21 are genes associated with other neurodegenerative disorders.