Open Research Studies at the Penn Memory Center


The purpose of the Aging Brain & Cognition (ABC) study is to learn about how the aging brain makes quick decisions. Individuals above the age of 60 with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), or normal controls, may be eligible to participate. Study activity includes a visit to the clinic at the Penn Memory Center for one 1-hour appointment and completion of several computerized, puzzle-like problems that will take about 1 hour.

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

toyama handout

The Toyama study (NOBLE) 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 4 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 or Alzheimer’s disease 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).



Welcome to Penn Memory Center

Penn Memory Center is now enrolling for Fall 2015 Cognitive Fitness classes.

People with concerns about their cognitive health or with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) face new challenges related to thinking, learning, and remembering.

Cognitive Fitness focuses on memory and thinking, organization, and the promotion of physical and emotional well-being. Participants learn skills to strengthen memory and organization, adopt positive-coping strategies, and receive individualized coaching on lifestyle changes that are important for optimal brain health. Small groups of 8-10 participants meet twice weekly for eight weeks and learn skills known to promote brain health.

Fall 2015 classes will be held 1 to 3 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday at the University of Pennsylvania from October 5 to November 25. Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton, Ph.D. and director of the program, will lead the Fall sessions. To register or for more information, please call Felicia Greenfield at 215-662-4523 or email For additional information about the program, visit



The Penn Memory Center Announces a Transition of Leadership: Steven Arnold, MD, director of the Penn Memory Center, to serve as the Translational Neurology Head of Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School’s new Integrated Brain Center. Drs. Jason Karlawish and David Wolk appointed as acting co-directors.

After eight years directing the Penn Memory Center and 25 years as a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, our great colleague and friend Steven Arnold, MD has announced he will move to Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston to serve as the Translational Neurology Head of the new Integrated Brain Center.

“This was a very difficult decision,” says Dr. Arnold. “I’ve so enjoyed the patient care and research I have conducted at Penn, but this is a good opportunity for me. And I think it is a real opportunity to discover advances that will achieve the goals we share: better treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. “

David Wolk, MD, associate professor of neurology, will become the director of the Clinical Core and co-associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center. Jason Karlawish, MD, professor of medicine, medical ethics and health policy, will continue as associate director of the Clinical Core and will also serve as co-associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center. Drs. Wolk and Karlawish will serve as acting co-directors of the Penn Memory Center.

Asked to reflect on Dr. Arnold’s time at the Penn Memory Center, Jason Karlawish wrote, “Steven did a fabulous job building the Penn Memory Center. All of us will miss his energy and innovative spirit, his wit and enthusiasm. He truly carried on the legacy built by Dr. Chris Clark.”

Dr. Wolk wrote: ”Steven will be greatly missed by all of us.  He embodied the spirit of the clinician scientist marked by creativity, curiosity, and tireless pursuit to advance our understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease and find effective treatments.  We are inspired to carry this tradition forward.”

Felicia Greenfield, associate director for clinical research and operations, has begun the seamless transition of Dr. Arnold’s patients to the care of the Center’s providers.

“Dr. Arnold’s patients and their families regard him as a highly-skilled and empathetic provider, generous with his time and compassionate in his approach. We are all sad to see him go, but I am confident that his patients and their families will be equally satisfied under the care of our other excellent providers in the Center – clinicians that Dr. Arnold led for the past seven years. Anyone who was scheduled with Dr. Arnold will be receiving calls from Ivy Mesa or another staff member to reschedule their next appointment with Drs. Hamilton, Huege, Vaishnavi or another of our capable providers.”

In the coming weeks, the Center will announce further plans for the transition of leadership and the growth of the center’s clinical and clinical research missions.


PMC Presentations Available on YouTube

Steven E. Arnold, MD, director of the Penn Memory Center  and David Wolk, MD, assistant director of the Penn Memory Center, both recently gave presentations at Surrey Services for Seniors in Devon, PA. Dr. Arnold’s presentation “Conundrums in Research on the Aging Mind” and Dr. Wolk’s presentation “How Early Can we Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease?” are available for viewing on YouTube. You can find the links below:

Conundrums in Research on the Aging Mind

How Early Can We Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease?


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

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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


The University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center

The University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center seeks to advance public health goals, and serves as a hub for interdisciplinary chronic disease prevention research, training, and dissemination at the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn Memory Center's Jason Karlawish, MD, leads one of the PRC's Special Interest Projects - Alzheimer's/Dementia Assessment Messaging - and one of the SIP's Collaborating Networks - The Healthy Brain Research Center.

To read more about the PRC's work, visit their website at