Research is a chief mission of the Penn Memory Center. We offer a wide range of studies for older adults with memory problems and those with normal cognition. These include:
ADC Logitudinal Research Study
The largest, most comprehensive longitudinal (conducted over time) research effort in the US aimed at better understanding AD, MCI, and lifelong brain health.
Those with normal memory and thinking, MCI, or early to moderate AD may be eligible. One visit, running 2-3 hours, annually.
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.
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
This study analyzes data obtained from MRIs, and from biological sources such as samples of cerebrospinal fluid and blood, aiming to detect the smallest changes in the brain that occur when diseases such as Alzheimer’s are in their very earliest stage, before any symptoms appear.
Those aged 55-89 with normal memory and thinking, or who have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may be eligible. Total of up to 5 visits over approximately one year.
This study evaluates if a portable noninvasive test (an EEG) using the COGNISION™ software system can help diagnose early Alzheimer’s disease, and also differentiate it from normal aging.
Those with normal memory and thinking, or early to moderate AD may be eligible. Total of 1 or 2 visits over several weeks.
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.
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.
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.
Metformin is a Phase II study that examines the cognitive effects of the diabetes drug Metformin on non-diabetic individuals.
Those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early Alzheimer’s disease may be eligible. The study consists of one baseline visit, five in-clinic visits (one per month for five consecutive months), and twelve weekly phone calls.
The Merck BACE 1 study is a Phase II study testing the safety, tolerability, and cognitive effects of the Merck BACE inhibitor drug.
Individuals 55-85 years of age with a diagnosis of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease may be eligible. The study includes one baseline visit, 10 in-clinic visits, and 7 phone calls.
The ADvance study is a Phase II study testing the safety, tolerability, and cognitive effects of a surgically implanted neurostimulation device.
Individuals 55-80 years of age with a diagnosis of mild Alzheimer’s disease may be eligible. The study includes one baseline visit, one surgical implant visit, one surgical follow-up visit, and 8 study visits.
This study seeks information on how elders experience and have experienced stress, and the ways stress affects memory, thinking, brain resiliency, and overall brain aging.
Those with normal memory and thinking, MCI, or early to moderate AD may be eligible. Requires one 3-hour session of testing and questionnaires per year, for a total of three years.
Note: The Resilience study is not currently enrolling.