Children continue mother’s legacy with Alzheimer’s research gift

July 20, 2015

Sid-Obryant-Sheryl-Sewell--Leigh-Johnson--WEB

Sid O’Bryant, Sheryl Sewell and Leigh Johnson

More than 40 years ago, Jareen Schmidt founded the J.E.S. Edwards Foundation to support issues dear to her heart, such as health and wellness in Fort Worth.

So when Alzheimer’s disease required her to transfer Foundation leadership duties to her children, they knew how to continue her legacy. The foundation made a gift to advance potentially ground-breaking research at UNT Health Science Center that could unlock the secrets of Alzheimer’s.

“Alzheimer’s disease runs in our family because my mother has it and my grandmother had it before her,” said Sheryl Sewell, Schmidt’s daughter. “It’s a really personal issue for us, and I’m really excited about the innovative approaches taken by UNT Health Science Center scientists to study this disease.”

A portion of the foundation’s donation will support research headed by Leigh Johnson, PhD, into the relationship between depression and Alzheimer’s. Depression is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s, and research studies have suggested that a subset of people who suffer depression and memory loss show improvement while undergoing antidepressant therapy.

Dr. Johnson and other UNTHSC researchers are conducting an innovative clinical trial that seeks to treat targeted patients at risk for Alzheimer’s disease specifically due to depression-related issues. This personalized approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease may be one key to unlocking this devastating disease. It also is one of the first times research developed at UNTHSC has reached the clinical trial phase, where it could directly benefit Fort Worth residents.

“Unraveling the pathways that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease remains the best hope to fight this disease,” Dr. Johnson said.

The gift will also fund seed grants to support young researchers’ most innovative ideas for solving Alzheimer’s. Seed grants allow researchers to build data and pursue even greater funding through federal or private sources, said Sid O’Bryant, PhD, a nationally recognized Alzheimer’s researcher.

“The funds to support seed grant research from the J.E.S. Edwards Foundation are of tremendous importance,” said Dr. O’Bryant, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine. “These funds will help push forward these new approaches that incorporate many different research disciplines to tackle brain disease in new ways.”

Thad Miller Systems Thinking Seminar
CDC and UNTHSC team up to discuss tuberculosis elimination

By Sally Crocker   HSC Insider Learn more about UNTHSC’s people and programs by signing up for the weekly HSC Insider email. Public health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNT Health Science Center and Tarleton State University recentl...Read more

Nov 20, 2018

All of Us Event
NIH exhibit to boost medical breakthroughs coming to UNTHSC

By Alex Branch   HSC Insider Learn more about UNTHSC’s people and programs by signing up for the weekly HSC Insider email. Tarrant County residents have a unique opportunity to contribute to medical breakthroughs and health research this month when a National Ins...Read more

Nov 20, 2018

Meharvan Singh
Study: Progesterone protects the brain during stroke

By Jan Jarvis   HSC Insider Learn more about UNTHSC’s people and programs by signing up for the weekly HSC Insider email. Time is critical when someone has a stroke – especially the first three to four hours. That’s how long someone has to get to the hospi...Read more

Nov 19, 2018

Pa Fc
For physician assistant students, Friday lessons are hands-on and lecture-free

By Alex Branch   The physician assistant students huddled around Davey, a 5-year-old boy who wheezed and struggled to breathe. Students studied his medical history chart and leaned down to talk to him on the exam table. They calmed Davey’s mother and watched his vital signs on a digi...Read more

Nov 14, 2018