Open Research Studies at the Penn Memory Center

toyama handout

The Toyama study will investigate the safety, tolerability and cognitive effects of the T-817MA drug on individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This drug is not FDA approved and is investigational. Individuals 55 -85 years of age with a diagnosis of probable AD and who have been taking donepezil (Aricept) for at least 6 months may be eligible.

Download a one-page overview of this study including contact information.

AVID image

The purpose of the AVID study is to evaluate the safety and imaging characteristics of an investigational PET imaging agent that binds to a protein called tau. Being able to measure tau protein is of considerable importance for tracking brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

This new PET tracer has potential application as a marker for assessing disease severity and may be useful in selecting patients for therapy and for monitoring disease progression.

Individuals at least 50 years of age with Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s disease or normal cognition may be eligible for this study.

Download a one-page overview of this study including contact information (for Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment or Alzheimer’s disease).

Download a one-page overview of this study including contact information (for Individuals normal cognition).


Merck BACE 1 MCI Handoutimage

The Merck BACE-1 Study is a Phase III study for patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment testing the safety, tolerability and cognitive effects of the Merck BACE inhibitor drug. This study is for individuals 50-85 years of age with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

This drug is not FDA approved and is investigational. As a BACE inhibitor, the drug inhibits the enzyme that produces beta amyloid plaques, deposits of which accumulate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The study will assess the effects of the drug on cognition and the ability to perform everyday activities.

Participants must have a reliable study partner: a spouse, relative, or friend who knows the participant well and sees him or her often, who will attend all study visits, and who will provide information about the participant during the study.

Download a one-page overview of this study including contact information

Welcome to Penn Memory Center

The Penn Memory Center is now registering for Fall 2014 Cognitive Fitness Classes!

Cognitive Fitness is an 8-week comprehensive, holistic program designed to educate and empower participants to age in the healthiest way possible. The course focuses on memory and thinking, organization, and the promotion of physical and emotional well-being. Strengthen your “memory muscle” and receive individual coaching on lifestyle changes that are important for optimal brain aging. Classes will run between September 29th – November 21st, 2014, at two convenient locations. Groups of no more than ten participants will meet two days per week for three hours per day. Both morning and afternoon classes are currently being offered at each location:

West Philadelphia
Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
Monday and Wednesdays
AM Group  9:30AM – 12:30PM
- or -
PM Group  1:30PM – 4:30PM

Valley Forge
Penn Medicine Valley Forge
Tuesdays and Thursdays
AM Group  9:30AM – 12:30PM
- or -
PM Group  1:30PM – 4:30PM

Cost and Scholarships:

The full tuition for the Cognitive Fitness program is $1,800 per person. However, need-based scholarships are available upon request. Click here for Sliding Scale Fee for more information and application instructions.

Cognitive Screening:

Prior to enrollment, a clinical interview and cognitive pre-screening will be completed to help identify area of strength and weakness, while establishing individual goals and objectives for the course. To set up an appointment, please contact me by phone or email. The cost of the pre-screening is generally covered by private insurance or Medicare.


To register, or more info, call 215-662-6734 or email at The deadline for registration is September 19, 2014.


The Penn Memory Center is now enrolling for our Fall Choral Group!

Wednesdays, 2pm – 3pm at Ralston House, beginning September 10.

After an exciting and successful spring session, we’re eager to start singing again. Our past participants had a rewarding experience, and you can too.

As one participant said: “I joined to learn to harmonize, both musically and figuratively, with others, and to participate in an uplifting experience.”

Another participant said: “(Our instructor) Darina was amazing! She was so patient with us. And, she is incredibly talented. We feel very fortunate to have spent time with her.”


Music is not just beautiful, it helps cognitive function, relieves stress, and reduces anxiety and depression. Penn Memory Center’s choral group will focus on proper breathing and singing techniques, learning new and (sometimes) challenging music, and most importantly, experiencing the joy that comes from singing and expressing yourself through music.

Led by Darina Petrovsky, a classically trained musician and doctoral nursing student at the University of Pennsylvania where she investigates the impact of singing on language and memory in older adults, the group will meet Wednesdays, 2:00 pm.- 3:00 p.m., at Ralston House, 3615 Chestnut Street, starting on September 10, 2014.


To register, or for more information, please contact Barbara Overholser at or 215-898-8997.


The A4 Study is Now Enrolling at the Penn Memory Center

If you are a healthy older adult with normal memory, now is the time to join the fight to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The A4 study is a historic clinical trial for older individuals who may be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study aims to prevent the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

You can read more about the study and the eligibility requirements at the A4 Study website.


Do you have a passion, talent, or skill that you would like to share with others?

Research tells us that cognitive stimulation and social engagement are key components to successful aging. The Penn Memory Center is pleased to provide a platform for our patients and community to come together and learn from one another. If you would like to volunteer to lead a book club or a discussion group, teach knitting, lead a yoga class, or share another skill with others at the Penn Memory Center, we are happy to host, promote and provide some administrative assistance to transform your interest into action.

Interested volunteers should contact Felicia Greenfield at 215-614-1828 or

News and Events

Darina Petrovsky, a predoctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and the leader of the Penn Memory Center
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Two years ago, at a conference in Miami on Alzheimer’s disease, after a session about risk factors and biomarker prediction models, a
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In the current issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette you’ll find Penn Memory Center‘s Dr. Jason Karlawish’s review of Nobel Prize winning researcher Stanley
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Starting in 2015, Medicare will pay monthly fees to doctors who manage care for patients with two or more chronic
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A study published in JAMA Neurology on August 11, 2014, suggests that minimizing apoE gene levels in the brain may
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Penn Memory Center in the Community

Click here to find out about the important work the Penn Memory Center is doing in the Philadelphia community.

 PMC in community

What does it mean to be a caregiver?

Click here to listen to the stories of caregivers from the PMC community.

I am a Caregiver

To find out about the Penn Memory Center's new Brain Health Research Registry, please contact Tigist Hailu, Coordinator for Diversity in Research, at or 215-573-6095.  By enrolling in the Penn Memory Center’s Brain Health Research Registry you’ll play a vital role in research. The Registry serves as the research recruitment resource for investigators at the Penn Memory Center who are studying brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, which affects over 5 million people in the US.

The Penn Memory Center Brain Health Research Registry is a confidential database that is made up of people like you who have volunteered to consider participation in research studies. We will contact you periodically with a list of research studies that you may consider joining. Participation is always optional and all information is kept confidential.

Questions? Please contact Tigist Hailu, Coordinator for Diversity in Research, at or 215-573-6095.