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Two Grants Focus on Early Dementia

Two Grants Focus on Early Dementia—Joe Verghese, M.B.B.S., has been awarded two NIH grants totaling $5 million to pursue his research into diagnosing cognitive impairment at an early and potentially treatable stage.
     Cognitive impairment related to dementia is underdiagnosed, even though tests are available for assessing it. The missed diagnoses—especially common among African Americans and Hispanics—cause delays in providing vital support services. One of Dr. Verghese’s two NIH awards is a five-year, $3.8 million 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 multi-ethnic primary care populations at high risk for developing dementia. It will be assessed at Montefiore Medical Group primary care clinics. (1UG3NS105565-01)
     Dr. Verghese’s second NIH award is a five-year, $1.2 million grant to investigate the biological underpinnings of Motoric Cognitive Risk Syndrome (MCR), which Dr. Verghese and a group of international collaborators recently described. People diagnosed with MCR have trouble thinking and walk slowly—an indication that they’re 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.
     Dr. Verghese’s MCR research involves more than 10,000 older participants divided into eight cohorts based in five countries: the U.S., Canada, France, India, Japan and Australia. He and his colleagues will evaluate likely biomarkers of MCR, including peripheral inflammation and oxidative stress, along with physiological mechanism that drive the condition.
     Dr. Verghese is professor and division chief of geriatrics, department of medicine; and director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for the Aging Brain. (1R56AG057548-01)

Monday, November 20, 2017
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