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Cynthia A. Munro, M.A., Ph.D.

Cynthia Ann Munro, M.A., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Cynthia A. Munro, M.A., Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Female

Expertise

Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Decline in Older Adults, Dementia, Medical Psychology, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Neuropsychology, Psychologist ...read more

Research Interests

Cognitive effects of stress; Prevention of Alzheimer's disease

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Locations

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Appointment Phone: 410-550-6337
5300 Alpha Commons Drive
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Baltimore, MD 21224 map
Phone: 410-550-6271

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Appointment Phone: 410-550-6337
600 N. Wolfe Street
Meyer Building Suite 218
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-614-7785 | Fax: 410-955-0504

Background

Cynthia A. Munro, Ph.D., ABBP(CN), is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Ohio State University, she earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Kent State University. She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and then an NIH-sponsored fellowship titled, “Clinical Research Training in Psychiatry,” also at the University of Pittsburgh. She is board certified by the American Association of Professional Psychology in clinical neuropsychology. She has served on various NIH scientific review committees, and served as a consultant to the DSM-5 neurocognitive disorders workgroup. She currently consults to the National Football League Players’ Association’s dementia care benefit plan (Plan 88) and is an editorial board member of International Psychogeriatrics

Dr. Munro sees patients through the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center, where she assesses patients with cognitive and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Her overarching goal is to prevent Alzheimer's disease. To this end, her research focuses on discovering novel approaches to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. She is particularly interested in determining why stress can hasten the onset of memory impairment and development of dementia. Although stress cannot be avoided, the way that individuals respond to stress is modifiable. Accordingly, her work focuses on factors (genetic, behavioral, personality, etc.) that influence the physiological response to stress, and importantly, how these factors may differ in men compared to women. She hopes that her work will inform interventions that will delay and even prevent dementia by targeting the way individuals respond to stressful events. 

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Titles

  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Associate Professor of Neurology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes

Education

Additional Training

American Board of Professional Psychology / Clinical Neuropsychology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Mechanisms underlying the associations among stress, memory impairment, and dementia. The influence of biological sex on these associations is also an area of focus. Targeting the neuroendocrine stress response to improve memory in individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease is an example of this work. 

Lab

Stress and Brain Health Research Collaborative (SBHRC). Dr. Munro is the founder and co-director, along with Dr. Kellie Tamashiro, of the SBHRC. This endeavor is a collaboration between pre-clinical and human researchers in the area of stress and disease. Of particular focus are studies that elucidate the mechanisms underlying the association between the physiological stress response and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Because virtually every major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is associated with an abnormal response to stressful events, we believe that targeting individual differences in the stress response will be key in reducing the risk of developing this illness. The goals of the SBHRC are 1) to conduct preclinical studies of the most innovative ideas to elucidate the mechanisms by which stress can lead to illness, and 2) to identify the most promising hypotheses from that work to pursue in human trials. Our overarching aim is to prevent Alzheimer's disease. 

Technology Expertise Keywords

Differential diagnosis of dementia; Stress and cognitive decline; Sex differences in stress and cognition

Clinical Trial Keywords

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Clinical Trials

Phase II Trial of CORT108297 to Attenuate the Effects of Acute Stress in the Allocortex (CORT-X). This study is a 2-week, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover Phase II trial of the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist (CORT108297) to treat stress-induced memory impairment in individuals who are at increased risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Munro CA, Wennberg AM, Bienko N, Eaton WW, Lyketsos CG, Spira AP. Stressful life events and cognitive decline: Sex differences in the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Follow-Up Study. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2019;34: 1008-1017. https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.5102

Tao Y, Peters ME, Drye LT, Davangere DP, Mintzer JE, Pollock BG, Porsteinsson AP, Rosenberg PB, Schneider LS, Shade DM, Weintraub D, Yesavage J, Lyketsos CG, Munro CA. Sex differences in the neuropsychiatric symptoms of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, 2018;33 (7): 450-457. doi: 10.1177/1533317518783278 PMCID: PMC6219457

Munro CA, Workman C, Kramer E, Hermann C, Ma Y, Dhawan V, Chaly T, Eidelberg D, Smith GS. Serotonin modulation of cerebral glucose metabolism: Sex and age effects. Synapse. 2012; 66(11):955-964. PMID 22836227 PMCID 3440524

Munro CA, Flynn-Longmire C, Drye LT, Martin BK, Frangakis CE, Meinert CL, Mintzer JE, Porsteinsson AP, Rabins PV, Rosenberg PB, Schneider LS, Weintraub D, Lyketsos CG, for the DIADS-2 Research Group. Cognitive outcomes after sertraline treatment in patients with depression of Alzheimer’s disease. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2012;20(12):1036-1044

Munro CA. Sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease risk: Are we looking at the wrong hormones? Guest Editorial, International Psychogeriatrics, 2014; 26(10):1579¬1584. doi: 10.1017/S1041610214001549

Activities & Honors

Memberships

  • American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology
  • International Neuropsychological Society

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Women's Midlife Stress Might Affect Memory, WebMD, (August 20, 2019)

'Stressors' in middle age linked to cognitive decline in older women, ScienceDaily (August 5, 2019)

Alzheimer's in women: Could midlife stress play a role?MedicalNewsToday (August 19, 2019)

Stressors in middle age linked to cognitive decline in older women, HUB Johns Hopkins University (August 6, 2019)

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The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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