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Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Person-Oriented Research on Issues Related to Cognitive Disorders

For aging populations in the United States and abroad, dementia is a major clinical and public health issue; it is a lengthy and costly condition that creates a large social and financial burden on society. Unless new discoveries are made in the prevention or treatment of dementia, specifically Alzheimer's disease, an estimated 13.2 million Americans will have dementia by 2050.  Identifying new and effective approaches to early detection of dementia is critical.

Research Focus

Research focus is on identification of new biomarkers, both fluid and imaging, and new pharmacological targets for prevention and treatment of late life memory disorders. Additional work focuses on understanding and improving care provided in dementia, including how timely diagnosis might link to improved outcomes. Recent studies by Johns Hopkins researchers showed that specific blood pressure medications can decrease dementia risk in healthy elderly people. Other studies include using oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to develop a biomarker of early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Research focus also extends to postoperative delirium, hearing and balance loss, and functional evaluation on the effect on dementia risk or progression.

The knowledge gained by characterizing biological and cognitive changes that precedes clinical transition to dementia could allow the development of targeted treatments for dementia.

Current Research Studies

  • The effect of blood-pressure medications on the risk of developing dementia
  • The possible role of prescription and over the counter anticholinergic medication use and the risk of developing dementia
  • Plasma biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease using oral glucose tolerance test
  • Preclinical Alzheimer's disease as a risk factor for postoperative delirium and cognitive decline in hip fracture patients
  • Potentially unsafe activities and living conditions in older adults with dementia
  • Characteristics and longitudinal outcomes in undiagnosed dementia

Faculty investigators

Photo of Dr. Ariel Ruth Green, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Green, Ariel Ruth, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cognitive Decline in Older Adults, Dementia, General Internal Medicine, Geriatric Consultation and Preventative Health, Geriatric Medicine, Polypharmacy, Primary Care of Older Adults
Research Interests: Reducing use of potentially harmful medicines in older adults, shared decision making, dementia
Photo of Dr. Esther Seunghee Oh, M.D., Ph.D.

Oh, Esther Seunghee, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine
Assistant Professor of Pathology
Joint Appointment in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Clinical Care of Older Adults, Cognitive Decline in Older Adults, Geriatric Medicine, Geriatric Psychiatry, Mood Disorders, Perioperative Care of Older Adults
Research Interests: Development of biomarkers for different stages of dementia, as markers of early detection as well as for markers of treatment response
Photo of Dr. Sevil Yasar, M.D., Ph.D.

Yasar, Sevil, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor of Neurology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Dementia, Geriatric Medicine, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
Research Interests: Dementia, Cognitive decline, Hydrocephalus, Pharmacoepidemiology