Grants ensure future contributions in the field of aging and dementia
Designated as a Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease (CEAD), our Center for the Aging Brain is one of only 10 programs partially supported by a grant from the New York State Department of Health. Additional funding has allowed us to expand the testing capacity for Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss to 17 different languages and offer face-to-face interpreters. Having coined the term “The 5 Critical Cs” (culture competent, collaborative care for cognitively impaired individuals), our Center offers a unique treatment approach for patients and their families.
In 2020, our continued research activities were supported by Joe Verghese, MBBS, MS, and his team, who managed to secure multiple NIH grants in the areas of aging and dementia. The first is a five-year grant for $7.6 million that will fund a study of a pre-dementia condition called motoric cognitive risk syndrome (MCR) in 11,000 older adults spread across six countries. People diagnosed with MCR have trouble thinking and they tend to walk slowly, both of which are indications that they may be at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Previous studies found that certain interventions can counteract the syndrome, suggesting that treating MCR may prevent it from progressing to more serious disease. Later, we were awarded an additional $1.2 million NIH grant to investigate MCR’s biological underpinnings.
An additional five-year grant for $6.2 million will enable researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of a noninvasive brain stimulation technique intended to alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and improve brain function. Our department’s research efforts will also benefit from a $3.8 million NIH grant to develop and validate a low-cost, five-minute cognitive screening test that can be readily administered by non-clinicians after minimal training. The test will be accompanied by a decision tree aimed at helping providers identify and care for multiethnic primary care populations at high risk for developing dementia.
We also received an NIH grant to study how changes in the brains of older adults affect gait, cognition and the development of dementia. The study will map brain changes and their effects over time in 200 older adults. Ours is one of only a few studies to simultaneously track changes in brain structure and function, along with gait and cognition, as people age.
We have three junior faculty members within the Division of Cognitive and Motor Aging who have been awarded NIH K awards, and an additional faculty member who received an institutional KL-2 grant, as well as a grant from Columbia University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Alzheimer’s Disease Disparities. These are all junior faculty members.
At Montefiore Einstein, we know providing patients with the best possible care includes teamwork and trust. We work closely with our valued referring physicians to ensure open communication and reliable expertise