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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