aging

healthy, normal aging

Aging and Cognitive Decline

This is a longitudinal study which aims at identifying the cognitive mechanisms and neural structures that underlie the decline in executive functioning observed in normal aging.

Summary

  • Study director: Joel Kramer, PsyD
  • Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Recruiting?: No
  • Official study title: Mechanisms of Executive Decline in Normal Aging
  • Conditions studied: Healthy aging

Norbert Lee

Staff Research Associate

Norbert Lee joined Dr. Seeley's Selective Vulnerability Research Laboratory as a Staff Research Associate in 2010. He assists with brain banking and other histology technician functions.

David Perry, MD

Neurology Fellow

Dr. Perry graduated from medical school at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He completed an internship in internal medicine and residency in neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where he also researched obsessive-compulsive features in dementia. He is a clinical instructor and fellow in behavioral neurology at the Memory and Aging Center and participates in the evaluation and treatment of patients in the MAC clinic.

His current area of research interest is the impact of neurodegenerative illness on reward processing.

Jennifer S. Yokoyama, PhD

Assistant Professor

Jennifer Yokoyama obtained her PhD degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics from UCSF in December 2010 with Dr. Steven Hamilton (Department of Psychiatry and Institute for Human Genetics). Her dissertation comprised work within the Canine Behavioral Genetics Project, utilizing pure bred dogs as genetic models for studying neuropsychiatric disease. Utilizing community-based canine DNA samples, Dr. Yokoyama performed genome-wide surveys for genetic loci underlying the canine anxiety disorder noise phobia, as well as for loci underlying adult-onset deafness in border collies.

Dr. Yokoyama is currently an Assistant Professor at the Memory and Aging Center, where she is beginning a research program in neurogenetics of aging. Specifically, she is interested in the effect genotype can have on brain physiology, behavior and cognition in healthy older adults, and how this is related to increased vulnerability to (or protection from) neurodegenerative processes during aging. She is also particularly interested in understanding these effects in diverse ethnic populations. Dr. Yokoyama's long-term goal is to understand how variation across the entire genome confers risk for particular types of neurodegeneration for purposes of early treatment and therapeutic intervention.

Eye Movement Control in Normal Elderly and Mild Cognitive Impairment

The purpose of this study is to help understand how eye movements are created in the brain. Understanding the changes in eye movements that occur with normal aging and neurological diseases may help in diagnosis and future treatment of these diseases.

Many researchers are finding that by the time a patient seeks treatment for symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, it's often too late for the available drugs to have an effect. Dr. Adam Boxer's lab is studying very precise eye tracking methods to gauge mental fitness and identify cognitive decline decades before the first symptoms appear.

Summary

Winston Chiong, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Chiong received his medical degree from UC San Francisco and his doctorate in philosophy from NYU, where his work focused on ethical issues in clinical research and medical education, personal identity, and brain death. He completed an internship in internal medicine at Stanford University and then returned to UCSF for his residency training in neurology. He then received an American Brain Foundation/Alzheimer's Association Clinical Research Training Fellowship to pursue training in cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging in the laboratory of Dr. Mark D'Esposito at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Chiong's current research is focused on decision-making and how it is affected by aging and neurodegenerative disease; as well as the ethical and policy implications of these changes. This work is supported by the National Institute on Aging, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (administered through the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute K Scholars program), and the Hellman Family Foundation.

Jamie Fong, MS, CGC

Genetic Counselor

Jamie Fong received her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley and her master’s degree in human genetics at Sarah Lawrence College. Jamie is a board certified genetic counselor.

Jamie arrived at the Memory and Aging Center (MAC) by way of Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she previously provided genetic counseling to individuals about thoracic aortic aneurysms in a cardiology research setting. Jamie has maintained a long-standing interest in neurogenetics and previously volunteered at the MAC in 2002. To this day, she remembers vividly the moving stories and experiences of MAC families she met many years ago. Jamie is delighted to return to the UCSF team.

Jamie returned to the MAC in 2011. She provides genetic counseling to individuals and families who are affected by or at risk for neurodegenerative conditions. She is intimately involved in the MAC’s efforts to understand the genetic underpinnings of dementia.

Virginia Sturm, PhD

Assistant Professor

Virginia Sturm, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. After undergraduate work at Georgetown University, she received her PhD degree in clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and subsequently completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF. Her research centers on laboratory measurement of emotion and social behavior in patients with neurodegenerative disease.

Dr. Sturm directs the Clinical Affective Neuroscience (CAN) Laboratory located in the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and affiliated with the UCSF Center for Psychophysiology and Behavior (CPB).

Glossary of Medical Terms

This list defines many of the words or terms you will hear when discussing neurodegenerative disease.

  • agnosia: A loss of the ability to recognize objects, persons, sounds, shapes or smells without injury to the primary sensory organ or memory loss
  • agrammatism: The presence of grammatical errors in speech, such as the omission or incorrect usage of articles (“cow jumped over moon”), prepositions (“dog walk bridge”) or verbs (“cat eated mouse”).
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