Alzheimer’s Disease Center
The Alzheimer’s Disease Center, part of NYU Langone’s Center for Cognitive Neurology, is one of 30 Alzheimer’s disease research centers in the United States supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). As an NIA-supported research facility, our aims are to advance current knowledge and understanding of brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease; to expand the number of scientists working in the fields of aging and Alzheimer’s disease research; and to work toward better treatment options and care for those living with memory impairment. Our ultimate goal is to share these findings with healthcare providers, researchers, and the general public to enhance the care of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.
Since 1973, our program has been at the forefront of research on memory problems attributed to normal aging, as well as a pioneer in the diagnosis, causes, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Our center’s findings have added to the understanding of the effects of aging on the brain and the biology of Alzheimer’s disease. We have developed many of the scales and measures used throughout the world, tested new medications and novel procedures for brain imaging, and studied cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers.
A few of our most notable accomplishments include the following:
- establishing the first internationally recognized global staging systems for Alzheimer’s disease: the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) and Functional Assessment Staging (FAST)
- establishing one of the first global assessment scales of cognitive ability, the Brief Cognitive Rating Scale (BCRS)
- establishing one of the first behavioral rating scales, BEHAVE-AD
- being the first group to use MRI scans to predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease in healthy older adults
- being the first group to use MRI scans to describe the anatomy of memory loss
- being the first to implicate maternal transmission of Alzheimer’s disease
- pioneering research that developed evidence-based comprehensive counseling models for family caregivers of people with dementia, with a national and international reputation in this field
Programs at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center are led by the following groups, or cores.
Our administrative core provides overall administrative supervision and coordination of the center, allowing us to optimize the scientific progress of affiliated researchers, ensure an environment conducive to the conduct of productive research on Alzheimer’s disease, and make certain that the basic objectives of the center are achieved. We also coordinate annual solicitation and review of pilot studies for funding by the Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
The clinical core coordinates comprehensive evaluations and provides accurate research diagnoses on a yearly basis for our research participants. This includes cognitive assessments, neurological exams, and bloodwork, as well as periodic brain imaging and caregiver evaluations in collaboration with the neuroimaging and psychosocial cores, respectively. From this longitudinal study, we aim to determine the factors that distinguish those who experience cognitive decline versus those who remain unimpaired with aging. We also work to develop new methods to detect and track at-risk individuals at very early stages of decline. The clinical core also matches research participants to appropriate clinical research projects, including those investigating new treatments.
Core Leader: Arjun V. Masurkar, MD, PhD
The neuropathology core is best known to research participants and their families for its Brain Donation Program. Through the Brain Donation Program and other efforts, we conduct thorough postmortem examinations (autopsies) and maintain a brain bank for continued study of Alzheimer’s disease. We work independently as well as in close collaboration with other cores and research facilities to understand the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and to contribute to discovering its causes. We also help develop novel therapeutic approaches to prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, in particular various “vaccination” treatments.
Core Leader: Thomas M. Wisniewski, MD
Associate Core Leaders: Arline Faustin, MD, and Jerzy Wegiel, PhD
Outreach, Recruitment, and Education (ORE) Core
The outreach, recruitment, and education (ORE) core provides training and education about Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and changes in memory associated with normal aging to the elderly, their family members, healthcare professionals, social service providers, and research scientists. We disseminate information about memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease both formally, through lectures in the community and seminars at NYU School of Medicine, and informally, through telephone and personal interactions. These activities help us to recruit new research subjects for the Alzheimer’s Disease Center and retain existing participants.
Core Leader: Joshua Chodosh, MD
Associate Core Leader: Karyn D. Marsh, PhD
Data Management and Statistics Core
The data management and statistics core performs data management and analysis for all the cores of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center and for affiliated individual research projects. We maintain a centralized database and offer consultation and hands-on help in experimental design and statistical analysis to all collaborating investigators. The centralization of these functions makes it possible for each of the research projects to benefit from more sophisticated and flexible statistical and computer tools than would normally be available for any single project and fosters sharing of data among investigators at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
Core Leader: Yongzhao Shao, PhD
Associate Core Leader: Alok Vedvyas, MS, MSJ
In the neuroimaging core, we conduct and interpret MRI and PET scans on study participants at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center. These data, along with other research efforts, contribute to the understanding of the markers that signify the progression of the illness. These data are categorized and organized in a user-friendly format that facilitates use by the other cores and by collaborating researchers. Our research is identifying markers of Alzheimer’s disease from its earliest onset to its later stages and contributes to discovering the causes of this disease.
The psychosocial core conducts a comprehensive assessment of the primary caregivers of all subjects participating in the clinical core, as well as family members of those with MCI and Alzheimer’s disease. We follow caregivers longitudinally and provide them with counseling on request. Counselors from the psychosocial core conduct conferences with subjects, primary caregivers if appropriate, and other family members at the conclusion of every diagnostic evaluation in the clinical core. Our counseling staff is available to respond to requests for help and information and acts as a link between center subjects and other center staff. We recruit new subjects and retain current subjects. The psychosocial core facilitates the development of new treatment and care strategies and the investigation of the impact of living with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders on the person with the illness and the caregiving family.
Core Leader: Mary S. Mittelman, DrPH
Associate Core Leader: Cynthia Epstein-Smith, LCSW
The Alzheimer’s Disease Center is led by a diverse group of individuals representing leaders in neurology, psychiatry, clinical sciences, and social work.
Thomas M. Wisniewski, MD
Joshua Chodosh, MD
Mony J. de Leon, EdD
Arline Faustin, MD
Karyn D. Marsh, PhD
Arjun V. Masurkar, MD, PhD
Mary S. Mittelman, DrPH
Barry Reisberg, MD
Henry Rusinek, PhD
Yongzhao Shao, PhD
Alok Vedvyas, MS, MSJ
Alzheimer’s Disease Center
145 East 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016
For general information, appointments, and study information, please call program manager Ashley Clayton, MA, at 212-263-3257. For clinical trials information, please call 212-263-5708. For information on brain donation, please call 212-263-5108.