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Michael Mullan – A leader in Alzheimer’s disease research

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Michael MullanDr. Michael Mullan is CEO of the Roskamp Institute, a Sarasota, Florida based research facility. The institute conducts research on Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, as well as traumatic brain injury aftermath and potential biological markers for substance abuse. Mullan specifically works in the Roskamp Memory Disorder Clinic, where he focuses on finding treatments, and hopefully a cure, for Alzheimer’s disease, which affects approximately 5 million Americans, mostly ages 60-80.

Mullan’s inspiration for studying Alzheimer’s

On one of his blogs, Michael Mullan discusses why he focuses on Alzheimer’s in his research. He points to the amazing history of many sufferers of the disease; they have long memories over the course of lives consisting of many interesting experiences, either in the military, in business or otherwise. One of the expressions of Alzheimer’s is that short term memory deteriorates, while older memories seem more present and clear. The tendency to nostalgia for Alzheimer’s patients, he believes, is fascinating; while the short-term memory loss causes agony for the patient, as well as their families. Mullan takes pride in the fact that he has the ability to offer these people a treatment for their disease. Although it is not yet a cure, his ability to offer FDA approved drugs and treatments, as well as experimental methods the Roskamp Institute is exploring, gives hope to many people who are suffering from their loved ones’ memory loss. Being able to give people hope in dealing with such a difficult disease, which affects the entire family, is one of Mullan’s main inspirations for continuing steadfastly in his research.

The institute

The Roskamp Institute is funded by its namesake, as well as the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Veteran’s Administration and CTAC. Their research is not just into Alzheimer’s, however; the Memory Disorder Clinic also deals with post-trauma patients, especially those with head trauma. This is the reason for many military veterans participating in the institute’s research. Mullan and his partner, Dr. Fiona Crawford, lead a team aiming to develop therapeutic methods and specific targets to achieve a deeper understanding of Alzheimer’s and its etiology. Mullan’s team discovered a genetic error which causes an excessive production of beta-amaloid. The mutation is what forms the basis for Alzheimer’s disease; it proves that there is a genetic propensity for the disease and lead this research team to begin searching for a way of understanding its presentation. Not only is Mullan’s Roskamp team searching for potential treatments for Alzheimer’s; they hope to find a cure and potentially also find ways to treat and cure some types of cancer.

The medical training of Michael Mullan

Originally trained as a medical professional at the London University, Mullan has received many awards throughout his career. His first was the Ethel Williams Scholarship for postgraduate research; already at this early point in his career, he was focused on Alzheimer’s research, which he conducted also at the Royal Free Hospital. He also earned a PhD from London University, studying molecular genetics.