Innovative Approaches to Research on Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention: Designing and Implementing Large-Scale Studies

Last week, the IOA welcomed Dr. Fran Grodstein, ScD, Epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, to discuss “Innovative Approaches to Research on Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention: Designing and Implementing Large-Scale Studies.”

Dr. Grodstein’s primary research focus is on healthy aging in women. Her team has recently been exploring the topic of research methods and how researchers can conduct much larger studies than in the past. Using simpler methods such as telephone screenings and computerized testing they suspect that participation will be much more convenient and appealing–resulting in larger sample sizes.

In the past, much of Dr. Grodstein’s research has been on how people can modify lifestyle to stay healthy. She has looked at specific ways to maintain memory, avoid major diseases, live longer, and avoid mental health issues such as depression. Some findings show that the following factors play a major role in living longer, healthier lives:

  • Diet: An increase in fruits and vegetables, with berries being particularly important for brain health
  • Exercise: Simply walking to stay active seems to be adequate
  • Moderate Alcohol Intake: One serving of any alcohol per day seems to work just as well as red wine
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Learn more about Dr. Grodstein’s research here:

For Dr. Grodstein’s full lecture, click here.




Penn FTD Center Director, Dr. Murray Grossman, receives Legal Clinic for the Disabled’s Special Recognition Award

MurrayGrossmanMurray Grossman, MD, EdD, professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Penn Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) Center, received the Legal Clinic for the Disabled’s (LCD) highest honor, the Special Recognition Award, for his longtime commitment to the disability community.

This award honors the impact of Dr. Grossman’s research and care of those affected by FTD and other life-altering related disorders that can cause motor dysfunction as well as affect behavior and language. Dr. Grossman also serves as the president of the Katie Sampson Foundation, a local group that works closely with the LCD and provides funding for research and rehabilitation treatments and programs to give patients with spinal cord injuries a sense of independence and increased quality of life.

As for his work here at Penn, the FTD Center is a close collaborator of the Institute on Aging, focusing on Frontotemporal degeneration, the second most common cause of dementia in people under 65, and related dementias. FTD “deprives patients of their cognitive abilities, personality and eventually their independence.”

For more information on Dr. Grossman and his work in FTD research and care, visit:

Full Penn Medicine News Release.


Related Event:

Penn FTD Center Annual Caregiver Conference
May 20, 2016 | Time TBD
Smilow Center for Translational Research – Rubenstein Auditorium

This daylong event is open to family, caregivers, health professions, scientists, students, and all others interested in learning more about FTD. The conference will include lectures by Dr. Grossman and a team of experts in the field.

Cellular Senescence and Fundamental Aging Processes

“If you are 85 [years old] compared to 30, your risk of having a heart attack is a thousand times greater…” – James L. Kirkland, MD, PhD

During his recent visit here at the University of Pennsylvania, James L. Kirkland, MD, PhD, Director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging and our first IOA Visiting Scholar of the new year, explained that the biggest risk factor for major aging-related conditions is simply the age of the individual itself.

As a clinical geriatrician, Dr. Kirkland treats many older adults with these chronic aging-related diseases such as dementia, cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, and osteoarthritis, all of which are driving forces behind most health costs and mortality.

On the research side of things, Dr. Kirkland focuses on cellular senescence and targeting the fundamental aging processes that are at the root of these diseases. More specifically, he is looking at whether targeting these fundamental processes can delay, prevent, alleviate, or treat aging-related chronic diseases as a group, rather than targeting one at a time. The underlying, and most important, goal here would be to increase healthspan, not just lifespan.

Learn more about Dr. Kirkland’s research here and in the video interview below.