Alzheimer's Discovery Financed With Quilts

Alzheimer's Discovery Financed With Quilts

(Burton, MI)-- December 14, 2010 -- Researchers at the University of Michigan have announced the development of promising new tools in the fight against Alzheimer's. The research was funded, in part, by a $30,000 grant from the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) and was published online in the December 3rd edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The AAQI was founded by quilter Ami Simms in the midst of her mother's 7-year struggle with Alzheimer's. "I don't know how to cure disease, but I do know how to quilt. And I have a voice in the quilting community and I thought this was the time to open my mouth," Simms said.

Simms, a nationally-recognized quilting instructor, enlisted the help of quilters across the United States to use their hobby to raise awareness and fund research. With their help she created two traveling quilt exhibits about Alzheimer's and received more than 6,100 donated quilts which the AAQI auctions or sells online at

To date the AAQI has raised nearly $500,000 for research and has awarded six grants, including the one for the research conducted by University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute assistant professor Mi Hee Lim that has yielded positive results. "We found that our compound is capable of disassembling the misfolded amyloid clumps to form smaller amyloid pieces, which might be 'cleansed' from the brain more easily, demonstrating a therapeutic application of our compound," said Lim.

AAQI supporters are delighted at the news of Lim's findings. "For so many of us this is personal," said Simms. "We have or had family members with this disease and we have seen the devastating results. Every stitch in every quilt is made with purpose and with hope. We now have proof that what we do with a needle and thread can truly make a difference."

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 nationally touring exhibition of quilts about Alzheimer's called Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope. The AAQI has raised nearly $500,000 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

Jennifer Farina
University of Michigan
734 615-4862
See University of Michigan Press Release.