Together Receives $2.5M from the NIH for Alzheimer’s Research

Dr. Barnes will serve as a co-investigator on an NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant awarded to Together Senior Health to test the effects of Moving Together -- a telehealth version of her Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIÉ) program for people living with memory loss and caregivers.

San Francisco, CA, August 5, 2020 — Together Senior Health, a digital therapeutic software as a service platform that extends independence for people with Alzheimer's Disease and supports their families with evidence-based programs and services, was awarded a $2.5M grant from the National Institute on Health (NIH) to prove its outcomes at scale, build out its technology platform and explore programs for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).   

The platform features MOVING TogetherTM live-streaming classes that reduce social isolation, increase physical function, and manage cognitive decline. Earlier pilot studies by Together’s research partners at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) show a 2-3x better effect for patients than best-in-class drugs across multiple measures.

Together is commercializing research done by Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, MPH, Principal Investigator, UCSF/SFVA Scientific Team and a Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology & Biostatistics at UCSF and a Research Health Science Specialist at SFVA. Dr. Barnes is co-PI on the grant, leading the UCSF/SFVA research team in partnership with Together. 

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are devastating and costly conditions that are slowly robbing 50 million people globally of their ability to think and function independently. That number will rise to 131 million by 2030, exceeding even demographic growth of this age cohort. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are an additional 137 million people living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

In the US, people with dementia are cared for by more than 16 million unpaid caregivers totaling an estimated 18.5 billion hours in unpaid care.  Families spend 80% or more to care for someone with dementia than for someone with heart disease or cancer. Additionally, $16B is spent annually on prescription drugs to treat dementia, though none actually delay disease progression.  According to the WHO, the global annual macroeconomic cost of dementia is $818B.

Together has ongoing online classes and has received a total $3M in Small Business Research Innovation (SBIR) grants through the National Institute on Aging (NIA) division of the NIH to conduct research to prove the efficacy of live-streaming classes at scale. “It is an honor to work with my team to bring such engaging and effective programs to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” said Cynthia Benjamin, CEO of Together Senior Health. “As social distancing becomes the norm, it is critical that we bring evidence-based solutions to people with memory loss who are already at risk of extreme social isolation.”

About Together Senior Health

Together Senior Health is a digital therapeutic community for people living with dementia and their caregivers.  Together’s technology platform engages seniors through movement, mindfulness and community, and will include other resources and services such as gaming, entertainment and education. For more information about Together Senior Health, go to