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Alpine Mountaineer and Alzheimer’s Advocate to Climb Highest Peak on Each Continent to Raise Awareness of Growing Prevalence and Burden of Alzheimer’s Disease


Alan Arnette, Caregiver to His Mother, Now Dedicates Challenging Climbs to Her Memory and Others Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients

South San Francisco - Alpine mountaineer and Alzheimer’s disease advocate Alan Arnette will embark later this month to climb the 7 Summits, the highest peak on each continent. This ambitious year-long climbing campaign – The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything – aims to raise awareness of the growing Alzheimer’s prevalence in our aging population and the enormous financial and personal burden it places on people with the disease, their caregivers and society.

“The mental and physical demands of scaling seemingly insurmountable peaks are not unlike the everyday challenges faced by those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers,” said Arnette, who cared for his mother with Alzheimer’s until her death last year. “Both involve understanding personal limitations, reaching out for support and taking steps daily on a very long road.”

Alzheimer’s, the nation’s 6th most deadly disease, robs individuals of collected memories, corrupts their distinct and true personalities and makes them unable to function independently. The burden of caring for these patients often falls to family members. In the United States, an estimated 10.9 million unpaid caregivers see to the daily needs of people struck by Alzheimer’s. Last year, these caregivers provided about 12.5 billion hours of care.

“What are our life experiences and adventures about if not to create life-long memories that we can share and embellish, year after year, with friends and family? Memories are everything,” said Arnette, whose high-altitude climb can be followed on

Arnette, who has been mountain climbing since he was 38, retired from his job with a leading technology company to care for his mother, Ida, who has since died from Alzheimer’s. Since then, the 54-year-old advocate has worked tirelessly to inspire people to join his efforts to help raise $1 million to advance Alzheimer’s research.

The Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. is funding Arnette’s climbs. All money Arnette raises from donations will go directly to the organization he selected, the Cure Alzheimer’s FundTM, for research. International Mountain Guides is also supporting Arnette’s efforts.

“This is an inspiring project by a dedicated sportsman who personally has experienced the terrible burden of this devastating disease and the needs of both patients and caregivers,” said Stef Heylen, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Research and Development for Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy, on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program. “We are proud to support him on this project focused on advancing research and treatment that is so badly needed.”

Every 70 Seconds, Someone is Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, with another person newly diagnosed every 70 seconds. It has been estimated to affect more than 5 million Americans and more than 25 million people worldwide. The lack of awareness around dementia is a global problem, leading to misunderstandings of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging and gradually destroys a person’s memory and their ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out basic daily activities like bathing and eating. As there is neither a cure nor a treatment that addresses the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s, there remains a significant need to advance treatment options that change the course of Alzheimer’s, improve patient outcomes and reduce the burden on caregivers.

The indirect and direct costs of caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to be more than $100 billion a year in the United States alone. The worldwide costs of dementia are estimated to exceed one percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, which equates to $600 billion, further demonstrating the global prevalence of the disease.

“Research is the key to solving the complexities of Alzheimer’s disease and Alan Arnette’s courageous fundraising efforts will help the Alzheimer’s community come one step closer to finding a cure,” said Tim Armour, President of the Cure Alzheimer’s FundTM.

The Summits
Arnette, a resident of Colorado, departs on the first climb of his seven climbs on November 24, 2010. The first peak is the 16,067-foot (4897 meter) Mt. Vinson Massif in Antarctica. By December 2011, he intends to reach the summits of:

* Aconcagua, Argentina, South America – 22,841ft/6962m
* Everest, Nepal, Asia – 29,035ft/8850m
* Denali, Alaska, North America – 20,320ft/6194m
* Elbrus, Russia, Europe – 18,481ft/5633m
* Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa – 19,340ft/5896m
* Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia, Oceania – 16,023ft/4884m

Arnette is taking on the extended challenge of climbing an eighth mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia, which is part of the Oceania continent.

For additional information on Arnette and The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories Are Everything campaign, as well as how to track Arnette’s quest on Twitter and Facebook, visit

Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program
The Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. is an equal collaboration committed to researching and developing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program believes that it is possible to reduce the burden of disease through early intervention in the illness. It is dedicated to delivering comprehensive and integrated solutions that help address the needs of people impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

Its research focuses on the beta amyloid hypothesis. Scientific evidence supports the idea that preventing the accumulation and/or promoting the removal of beta-amyloid may have the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and help preserve function in people with the disease. This theory is being tested in clinical trials.

Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy
Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy is researching, developing and commercializing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy is based in Dublin and has R&D facilities in South San Francisco.


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