The Jackson Laboratory team Tau Infinity and Beyond engaged in both physical and mental activities Monday in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Longest Day” fundraiser. PHOTO COURTESY OF GARETH HOWELL

Tau Infinity and Beyond goes the distance for Alzheimer’s

BAR HARBOR — A research team at The Jackson Laboratory organized an event in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association “Longest Day” fundraiser Monday, in which members participated in physical and mental exercise to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.

The team, named “Tau Infinity and Beyond” after a protein that contributes significantly to the disease, was led by Gareth Howell, assistant professor and researcher at The Jackson Laboratory Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

The goal of the day was to fill the longest day of the year – the summer solstice – with both mental and physical activity and to reach a collective 135 miles of walking, running and biking to represent the 135 million cases of dementia that are predicted by 2050.

The team started their day at 4:30 a.m. before sunrise at the lab before walking to the Park Loop Road to watch the sunrise at 4:48 a.m. After that, some team members had breakfast, while others ran a 5K, the first contribution to the 135 miles.

Team members then went onto the village green to play some mind games and bike in the park. In the afternoon, they travelled to Long Pond, where they swam before returning to Howell’s home for some badminton and croquet.

The team then hosted a cookout in Howell’s backyard before heading to Seal Cove to watch the sunset at 8:21 p.m.

In total, the team walked, ran and biked for a collective 138.5 miles.

This is the third time in four years that the team has participated in this event. Howell said it was the first year that the team said “we need to set ourselves a bit of a challenge.”

Howell said that the biggest thing the team was trying to convey in their efforts was the importance of physical and mental activity in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

“One of the reasons the day is as it is, with all the activity, is to reflect that a healthy lifestyle, an increase in physical activity, is likely to decrease risk of Alzheimer’s,” he said. “Some studies would suggest by as much as a third.”

“What we’re trying to stress is it’s not how much you can do,” it’s that you do it at all, he added. “Whatever you can do, do it.”

So far, the team has raised around $3,000 towards Alzheimer’s research. They are aiming for $5,000. Those wishing to donate to team “Tau Infinity and Beyond” may do so by going here.

Matt Mitterhoff

Matt Mitterhoff

Matt Mitterhoff

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