May 9, 2011 – (BRONX, NY) – An estimated five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Health experts expect the number of cases to rise dramatically as the population ages – reaching 13.5 million by 2050. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University are among those investigating the origins and treatments of this disabling disorder.
Richard Lipton, M.D.The Einstein Aging Study (EAS), which examines both normal brain aging and the special challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, has recently received a renewal grant of $11 million from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Aging (NIA) to continue its work. Richard B. Lipton, M.D., the Lotti and Bernard Benson Faculty Scholar in Alzheimer’s Disease and professor and vice chair of The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, will continue to lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers and health care professionals working to discover dementia’s causes and potential therapies.
“We are grateful for the longstanding support of this research program from the NIA and Einstein,” said Dr. Lipton, who has been the director of EAS since 1992. “With this new funding, we will continue to explore the relationship between cognitive and motor aging and begin to study the role of pain and stress as well as disease in small blood vessels (microvascular disease) as novel, remediable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.”
Since its initial funding by the NIA 30 years ago, the EAS and its investigators have contributed to the understanding of brain aging by tracking over 2,000 Bronx County residents. Participants who join the EAS must be over 70 years old and meet regularly with researchers, who screen for a variety of physical and mental health indicators and track changes in brain function. Among their findings are that memory decline accelerates seven years before Alzheimer’s disease becomes diagnosable. Armed with this knowledge, they are assessing biomarkers, genes and neuro-imaging procedures that will facilitate earlier diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The EAS is a hub for research activity on normal brain aging and disease within Einstein and elsewhere. The study collaborates with other Einstein research projects and six independent NIH/NIA-funded grants in collaboration with other institutions. In the previous five-year funding period, EAS investigators published over 140 peer-reviewed papers.
In addition to Dr. Lipton, EAS Project Leaders include Carol Derby, Ph.D., associate professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and of epidemiology & population health; Joe Verghese, M.B.B.S., professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and the Murray D. Gross Memorial Faculty Scholar in Gerontology; and Dennis Dickson, M.D., visiting professor of pathology. Other key investigators on the study include Charles Hall, Ph.D., Mindy Katz, M.P.H., Michael Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., Amy Sanders, M.D., Cuiling Wang, Ph.D., and Molly Zimmerman, Ph.D.