The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology


The need:

As the population ages, the health issues of older citizens ill become increasingly important. The Einstein Aging study (EAS) focuses on the aging brain, examining both normal aging and the special challenges of Alzheimer's disease and other dementing disorders. The study has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Aging since 1980.Scientists of this study consist of an interdisciplinary team of neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuropathologists, neurochemists, social workers and other health care professionals.

Even in people free of disease, certain mental capacities change as we grow older. For example,most people describedeclines in theirmemory for names and recent events.

Differentiating people whose memory problems are not progressive from people with early Alzheimer's and other diseases has emerged as an important research challenge.The ability to distinguish these groups would allow us to reassure most people that their memory changes are part of normal aging. For those with early Alzheimer's disease, treatments are now available and experimental treatments which may arrest disease progression are in development.Our research is important because we need to learn more about the risk factors for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. We also need to learn more about the way changes in the brain develop and give rise to changes in behavior.

To examine these issues, our studies have the following goals:

  • To describe the changes in memory and thinking which occur in normal aging.
  • To develop tests which help identify early Alzheimer's disease and individuals at high risk for future disease.
  • To study the causes of Alzheimer's disease.
  • To discover the changes in the brain which cause memory loss and other cognitive symptoms.
  • To help devise treatment strategies which delay or reverse such brain changes.
  • To provide education and information to EAS participants and the community about the aging brain.

Currently, the EAS includes the following research projects:

The Risk Factor and Neuroimaging Project identifies risk factors for mental decline using clinical assessments, blood tests, and brain imaging.

The Memory Project investigates age-related changes in learning and memory.

The Gait and Mobility Project investigates walking patterns and mobility changes in normal aging and disease.

The Brain Bank Program correlates clinical behavior with changes in brain tissue.

Department Chairman

Mark Mehler Mark F. Mehler, M.D. (bio)

Professor of Neuroscience
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Chair of The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology
Alpern Family Foundation Chair in Cerebral Palsy Research
Director, Institute for Brain Disorders and Neural Regeneration

Letter from the Chairman