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By EMILY FORD, Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The has been meeting with David Murdock and other leaders of the and could announce a joint research effort as early as next month.

Alzheimer’s disease is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.

"We have been working with Mr. Murdock and with his team not only to do this program, but to collaborate with them on a new research project," said Teresa Hoover, director of programs and family services for the Alzheimer’s Association Western Carolina Chapter.

The partnership will debut Friday when the Alzheimer’s chapter hosts a regional conference at the Research Campus, featuring keynote addresses from three experts on the disease.

Hoover said she couldn’t reveal whether any of Friday’s speakers would be conducting research in Kannapolis but said she expects the association to make an announcement with campus officials in early June. "Mr. Murdock has given us his blessing," she said.

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