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Hendersonville Woman Makes $2 Million Commitment to Duke for Alzheimer's Research

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. - Hendersonville businesswoman Aileen Todd, whose husband battled Alzheimer's disease for 15 years, has made a $2 million commitment to the Deane Laboratories at Duke University Medical Center to support Alzheimer's disease research, Duke University President Nannerl O. Keohane announced Friday.

"We are most grateful for this generous gift from Aileen Todd to our Deane Laboratories. Researchers at the Deane Laboratories are working to identify the causes of a wide range of neurological diseases from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases to Hodgkin's disease and epilepsy. This far-sighted philanthropy will accelerate the work of our medical researchers and advance us towards the goal of curing these dreaded neurological diseases."

Duke scientists have isolated a renegade protein associated with the neural destruction that Alzheimer's disease inflicts, and they are working toward creating new treatments for Alzheimer's and a host of other neurological diseases.

"More and more, we rely on the generosity of philanthropists such as Aileen Todd to fund the research needed to unlock the secrets of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders," said Dr. Ralph Snyderman, chancellor for health affairs at Duke University Medical Center and chief executive officer of Duke University Health System. "Research dollars can bridge the gap between diagnosis and a cure. Generous donors will make that day arrive soon enough to save or reclaim millions of lives."

Aileen Todd and her late husband, Ed, lived in the Asheville-Hendersonville area for most of their seven decades. The couple owned and operated various businesses - from house construction, to Western Carolina Glass and Mirror, to rental property - in the western area of the state.

In 1984, Ed Todd was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Aileen consulted experts around the country to locate a possible cure for the disorder that progresses to dementia and death. Her journey ended at Duke's Deane Laboratories where researchers there have already located a genetic marker for Alzheimer's. After battling the disease for 15 years, Ed Todd died last November.

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