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Health Check: Alzheimer's disease prevention research

What if you could delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease? Researchers are working on that.

What if you could delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease? Researchers are working on that.

The research is going on at Butler Hospital's Memory and Aging Program. It's part of a global initiative to determine a person's risk for developing the memory robbing disease and to try to prevent it.

Paul Cote wants to be a part of that research, and for good reason. He has a very strong family history of Alzheimer's disease.

"My dad was diagnosed seven or eight years ago," said Cote.

Four of his dad's five sisters were also diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He's talking to Dr. Stephen Salloway at Butler Hospital about how he might calculate his risk and possibly prevent its onset.

"We have a new partnership with an organization with an organization called the Brain Health Registry," said Salloway.

"And people can go to the Brain Health Registry website. They can take cognitive tests and find out how they're doing compared to people their age and also sign up and let them know if they're interested in being in prevention trials," Salloway said.

One of the new prevention studies is called Gene Match.

"Someone has to be 55 to 75 and they, if they're eligible, they'll be sent a little cheek swab kit and they'll do a little cheek swab and send it back and then they may be contacted to find out their risk based on a specific gene," said Salloway.

Cote, an artist, has already raised more than $40,000 for the Alzheimer's Association, selling things like one-of-a-kind hand-painted shoes and through his abstract paintings. He knows he needs to do more.

"Definitely going to be tested," said Cote.

"If I can make a difference by knowing and if they can use me in testing and trial studies and what not, it seems like the right thing to do," Salloway said.

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