The Einstein Aging Study
The Einstein Aging Study (EAS) has been a cornerstone of the department’s aging research mission with continuous funding since 1993. The research team has spent the past five years developing ambulatory cognitive assessment methods to obtain novel measures of cognitive performance in older individuals in real-world environments. Compared with conventional, laboratory-based approaches, these ambulatory measures are obtained several times per day over multiple 24-hour periods to provide more reliable estimates of cognitive abilities and how those abilities change from day-to-day in the course of daily life.
A recently announced five-year, $22 million NIH grant will fund the EAS to extend this work in novel new directions. This renewal grant will be led by Dr. Carol Derby, Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology and Population Health and Louis and Gertrude Feil Scholar in Neurology, and Dr. Richard Lipton, Edwin S. Lowe Professor and Vice Chair of Neurology. The program will enroll more than 700 Bronx-area adults who will receive customized smartphones and other wearable devices to assess how modifiable factors such as sleep, physical activity, daily stress, glucose regulation and air pollution affect daily cognitive function and contribute to long-term cognitive decline attributable to Alzheimer’s disease. Measures of blood-based Alzheimer’s biomarkers, inflammation, autophagy and genetic markers will facilitate investigation of mechanisms that link these exposures to early cognitive change.
The EAS has continued to separately support a number of NIH-funded ancillary studies amounting to $4.2 million over a five-year period. These projects examine the influence of sleep health, adverse early life experiences and depression, inflammation, nutrition and metabolomic measures of cardiometabolic health on brain aging. The EAS has supported more than 12 training grants for young investigators and seven postdoctoral fellowships, in addition to other medical students and resident research projects. Many of these collaborations have resulted in peer-reviewed publications and career development awards from the NIH.
The EAS continues to be a national and international resource for collaborative research that extends beyond the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Senior Associate Mindy J. Katz spearheads participation in numerous cognitive aging consortia that are seeking to identify precursors of Alzheimer’s disease.
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