Open Research Studies at the Penn Memory Center

A4 Handout image

The Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s study (A4 for short), is a clinical research study for older individuals who may be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The A4 study is investigating a drug intervention, solanezumab, and Individuals 65-85 years of age with normal cognition may be eligible. The study requires infusion visits every four weeks, for a total of 42 infusion visits over three consecutive years.


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


The purpose the EmPCAD study is to develop inexpensive, noninvasive cognitive screening tools which help to detect the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in people before they have symptoms of the disease. This study will evaluate several memory tests in cognitively normal older adults to determine if they are sensitive to evidence of Alzheimer’s disease brain changes based on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis.

Individuals 60-89 years of age who are cognitively normal may be eligible, and no study partner is required.

The EmPCAD study seeks participants already enrolled in the Penn Memory Center longitudinal cohort of the NACC study or participants who have completed equivalent testing.


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


Nine MRI scans of woman's brain (Digital Enhancement)

The purpose of the ASL-PET study is to determine the value of a special MRI scan that measures cerebral blood flow (called Arterial Spin Labeled MRI) in the diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment. We will compare this measure with other more established tests: brain imaging with Postiron Emission Tomography (PET/CT) and a lumbar puncture (LP) procedure, which allow researchers to evaluate the quantity of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Individuals 55-89 years of age with a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or normal controls may be eligible.
Download a one-page overview of the study including contact information

Welcome to Penn Memory Center

Now enrolling:

Join us at the innovative Memory Café

The Penn Memory Center’s next pop-up Memory Café will be held 10:30 a.m. to noon Friday, February 5 at Christ Church Neighborhood House. Be ready to be moved; we are very excited to announce that there will be a special musical performance by the Curtis Institute.

Due to the press the café received in the The Huffington PostPenn Current, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, we are expecting a larger-than-normal crowd. To help us prepare, please RSVP by e-mailing Genevieve Ilg or calling 215-630-0257 by Wednesday, February 3. Please include the total number of guests you plan to bring as well.

We hope to see you on February 5.


I Am Life: Humanity in Advanced Dementia

2 to 4 p.m. March 29, 2016

Room 11-146AB

Smilow Center for Translational Research, 3400 Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104

Space is limited. Please reserve your seat by calling Terrence Casey at 215-898-9979 or emailing

Members of the public are welcome to join the Penn Memory Center March 29 for “I Am Life: Humanity in Advanced Dementia.” Richard M. Rubin tells the story of his late wife, Rebecca Barnard, as her dementia advanced to a profound stage.

Rubin uses photography, narrative, audio, and video to bring home the depth of her loss and the persistence of her personality, her emotional life, her engagement with others, and her importance in their lives. The story raises complex philosophical and moral issues and directly addresses the conduct and thinking of care professionals. Jason Karlawish, Penn Memory Center co-director, will offer commentary and facilitate a discussion with the audience.

Rubin became active in a support group for younger spouses of people with dementia in 2007 after his wife was diagnosed at the age of 53. He has a BA in humanities from the University of Chicago and a PhD in philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis, where he helped organize a 2013 symposium on humanity in advanced dementia and has taught a course titled “Aging and Dying – Philosophic Perspectives.”



Cognitive Fitness Program

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.

Research supports that certain memory and thinking deficits can be compensated for by engaging in specialized cognitive training. Practicing these techniques can help optimize independence, improve overall health, and maintain normal daily activity.

The Cognitive Fitness program combines facilitator-led computer-based brain stimulation exercises, compensatory strategies, education, and supportive coaching.

Click the following links for an overview of Cognitive Fitness, for the program components, or for more information.


Caregiver Class 

The Penn Memory Center offers a six-week Psycho-educational Caregiver Class every spring and fall for those caring for a family member or other loved one with dementia.

Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia may experience feelings of sadness, anger, confusion, hopelessness, or frustration. This course is designed help caregivers develop skills to better help their loved one – and themselves – cope with the many changes of living with dementia.

Click here to learn more.


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

  In a rare visit to the University of Pennsylvania, National Institute on Aging Director Richard Hodes spoke highly of
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The Winter 2016 edition of the Penn Memory Center newsletter, InSight, has been published and sent to our mailing list.
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  Hosted by the Community Development Studies & Education Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the National Community
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The University of California system has chosen a new director of its Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), and he says
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  Details: I Am Life: Humanity in Advanced Dementia Featuring Richard Rubin and Jason Karlawish 2 to 4 p.m. March
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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