Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative Continues Funding Alzheimer's Research at University of Pittsburgh


(Burton, MI)-- July 26, 2011--The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) has awarded a grant of $25,000 to the University of Pittsburgh to continue research conducted by Dr. Nicholas Fitz on the "Effect of Different Forms of ApoE on Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease."

This is the 8th of many grants the AAQI plans to award for Alzheimer's research and the second grant to the University of Pittsburgh for Dr. Fitz's work. The grant was made possible by a $25,000 donation from Island Batik, Inc.

Dr. Fitz explains: "Scientists show a link between cholesterol metabolism and Alzheimer's disease. ApoE is a critical protein in regulating the levels of cholesterol in the brain. Those expressing the APOE4 allele have a higher incidence of Alzheimer's disease compared to APOE3 carriers, and lower levels of ApoE4 protein. The APOE4 allele is the only proven genetic risk factor for Late-Onset Alzheimer's disease. We hypothesize that treating mice with compounds that influence cholesterol metabolism is a way to increase levels of ApoE protein, which may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, we believe that mice bred to express human ApoE3 and ApoE4 will respond differently to these treatments, emphasizing the need to develop treatments for Alzheimer's disease specific to different populations of patients."

Dr Fitz was the recipient of the AAQI's first grant, awarded in 2009. His findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr Fitz is the owner of Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt #4658 (Day Turns Into Night) made by Ida Hansen of Odem, TX. When he thanked the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative for funding his current research he wrote," I am very grateful for the tireless time and efforts provided by all of the quilt makers and volunteers of your organization. As an owner of one of the donated quilts I truly understand all of the time and care needed to complete one of these small works of art. I have my quilt hanging in our laboratory and every time I look at it I am reminded of all the patients, family members, and friends that are affected by this disease."

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative ( is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. It auctions and sells donated quilts through the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt project and sponsors a touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's called "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope." The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative has raised more than $570,000 since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer's.

For more information on the AAQI or to make a donation, contact Ami Simms at 810-637-5586 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Eastern), or


Ami Simms
Founder and Executive Director
Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative
1200 Creekwood Trail
Burton, MI 48509
(810) 637-5586