The John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation   
 ...a not-for-profit charity       
funding new research frontiers

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Research is the answer!!!

Foundation Mission Statement

The Mission of The John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation is to serve as a venture catalyst to provide critical seed money for novel and promising Alzheimer’s research, generally not funded by the government or pharmaceuticals.

Significant due diligence and oversight are provided by our distinguished International Scientific Advisory Board and by Foundation Management.

It is The Foundation’s objective to expedite the day, either individually or in a collaborative effort, when we can delay the onset and advancement of, or find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.  

No overhead is taken from funds supporting our Research Scientists!

About Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a slow, progressive brain disease characterized by changes in behavior and personality and a decline in thinking abilities that cannot be reversed. AD is currently responsible for over 100,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

The American population is aging at a rate never seen before in recorded history. For the baby boomers, successfully living to 85 may only mean becoming one of the projected 14 million who will be dying with AD.

Until recently, compassion, care and understanding were our only means to assist AD patients. Now, through research, we have a better understanding of how to diagnose AD, analyze the biochemical changes, and study the factors responsible for these changes.

This debilitating disease will reach epidemic proportions with the advancing growth of our senior population. In addition, the related costs of over $150 billion annually are predicted to double within the next 10 years. We must advance the research ... NOW!


Meeting the Challenge

Mike Minchin, Jr.

From the President's Desk

Alzheimer’s Update (2012)

  1. Large trials focused on lowering amyloid protein will be completed in 2012.

  2. Tau trials are beginning in Alzheimer’s Disease-related conditions led by previous French Foundation Distinguished Research Scholar Dr. Adam Boxer at UCSF.

  3. T he FDA has approved amyloid-imaging as a diagnostic marker. This will allow physicians to order scans that quantify brain amyloid in a patient – greatly improving diagnostic accuracy.

  4. An epidemic in tau-related neurodegeneration is being found in NFL players. Dr. Bruce Miller (JDFAF Medical Director) and Dr. Stanley Prusiner (Nobel Laureate and Chairman of the JDFAF International Scientific Advisory Board) lead this investigation.

  5. French Foundation Fellows are exploring tau-lowering therapies. Dr. Keith Vossel at UCSF has become a leader in this effort.

  6. Future efforts will probably have to combine anti-amyloid and anti-tau therapies if we are going to be successful.

  7. The French Foundation continues to support outstanding scientists in the top medical schools across the State of California who are pursuing new out-of-the-box approaches to dementia.

  Major JDFAF Accomplishments (2011)

  1. Supported start-up of Dakim Brain Fitness equipment ( UCLA research is validating improvement in cognition by its usage.

  2. Initiated dietary/medicinal product test at UCLA. Results expected in the fall of 2012.

  3. Currently funding research at UCLA, UCSF, UCSD and Stanford. Since inception of the Foundation, over $15 million has been invested in 195 scientists conducting cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research.

  4. Dr. William Seeley at UCSF, whom we funded as a JDFAF Distinguished Research Scholar, received the prestigious McArthur Foundation Genius Award for his work. This is one of the highest honors bestowed on an individual in the United States and Dr. Seeley is the first neurologist to receive the award.

November 2011

Following the death of the former chairman of our Board, Art Linkletter, Michael Reagan, son of the President, was asked to become the new chairman. The Board’s interest in Michael was based on his leadership position during the many years of his father’s illness and his passion for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.


Before accepting the chairmanship of our Foundation Michael asked a series of important questions. These questions appeared to me to be the questions you might want answered before responding to the many worthy causes that are soliciting your financial support. What follows is a brief summary of some of them.

Michael Reagan:  Why should one give to Alzheimer’s over many other worthy causes?

Mike Minchin:  If we don’t find a cure for Alzheimer’s soon, because of the aging of the baby boomers, the cost of care will bankrupt the Medicare system and cause serious emotional and financial damage to caregivers. Compounding the problem is that only a small percentage of Alzheimer’s research projects receive government funding – and even that has been seriously cut. Presently there is no cure or drug to stop its progression.

MR:  One receives requests from several Alzheimer’s organizations. Why should someone give to the JDFAF?

MM:  Our Foundation acts like a venture catalyst, funding exciting new research approaches that government doesn’t fund and pharmaceutical companies see no patent opportunities when they might just copy drugs already approved.

MR:  What have been some of your major accomplishments?

MM:  Our major accomplishments are many. To name but a few:

  • Some of the most significant discoveries made in recent years have come from JDFAF scholars who are probing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and frontotemporal degeneration to find the cause and a cure for AD.
  • We supported the Chairman of our International Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Stanley Prusiner in the early stages of his research. Dr. Prusiner received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work with prions and Alzheimer’s.
  • 3 of 4 major genetic discoveries in Alzheimer’s are by scientists whose research we supported: Drs. Rudolph Tanzi (Harvard Medical School), Peter St. George-Hyslop (University of Toronto) and Gerard Schellenberg (University of Washington).
  • JDFAF has a distinctive program called Adopt-A-Scientist supporting the most brilliant of young scientists in their cutting-edge research and allowing individual donors to have a personal relationship with their adopted scientist.
  • JDFAF has developed major research collaborations among the leading Alzheimer’s university laboratories, requiring strict accountability of funds and sharing of findings among the research community. To date, over $4 million has been invested in such projects.
  • Since inception in 1983, JDFAF has supported 193 scientists in the amount of over $15 million.

MR:  It is often the practice for a charitable organization to take substantial overhead out of its donations. What does the JDFAF do?

MM:  No operational overhead is taken (by The Foundation, research lab, or scientist) from monies contributed.


MR:  Specifically, where does one’s donation go?


MM:  Basically, we fund 3 areas:

  • Bright young postgraduate research scientists uninhibited by restrictions of tradition or what some say “may or may not” work.
  • More advanced researchers who are not tenured, but have already demonstrated brilliance in their work and are greatly in need of funds to continue.
  • Special projects that open up exciting new pathways to accelerate finding a cure or importantly delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The need is great. The time is short.

Supporting Cutting-Edge Research

Several years ago The Wall Street Journal ran two articles pertinent to our Foundation. One article stated, "As the competition for government grants gets tighter, young scientists are quitting academia which, in turn, is causing a wave of anxiety in the ranks of biomedical research." These young scientists are important as they form the labor pool within the university for most of the scientific research. Often they have the most creative ideas. History is replete with examples of scientists making huge breakthroughs in their 20s and 30s. This is the very segment we support with our Adopt-A-Scientist program for post-doctoral scientists.

Another article from The Wall Street Journal addressed "The fevered debate of Alzheimer’s origins…(which has)…caused deep divisions." The current leading theory that has captured a majority of the funding is that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation in the brain of sticky plaques made of a protein called beta-amyloid. This leaves valuable areas of potential virtually without funds. Since our mission is cutting-edge research, we often fund areas not currently in vogue and not being funded by the N.I.H. or pharmaceutical companies. In the instance of the beta-amyloid controversy, we are funding alternative potentials, too, and finding some positive results.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, Vice-Chairman of JDFAF's International Scientific Advisory Board and former director of UCLA Alzheimer’s Disease Center, "Current therapies for patients with Alzheimer’s may ease symptoms by providing temporary improvement and reducing the rate of cognitive decline. Given the wide array of available molecular targets and the rapid progress toward identifying potential therapeutic compounds, the development of interventions that substantially delay the onset or modify the progression of Alzheimer’s can be anticipated."

The Staff of JDFAF

Michael M. Minchin, Jr.
David Werthe
Director of Operations
Gwen Waggoner
Director of Research Administration

For more information about JDFAF, you can

email us
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write us at

The John Douglas French
Alzheimer's Foundation
11620 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 270
Los Angeles, CA  90025

Last modified:  5/4/2011 by David Werthe
© 2011 The John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation
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