Over the past three decades I have directed research that has significantly advanced the current understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. I was the first to describe many of the most important symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, as well as its characteristic clinical course. My clinical staging measures—the Functional Assessment Staging measure and the Global Deterioration Scale—are governmentally mandated throughout the United States and in some parts of Canada and Europe, and they are recommended in Japan, Australia, and elsewhere.
My work has been instrumental in the development of all three major current pharmacological approaches to treating Alzheimer’s disease: NMDA receptor antagonist treatment (memantine); treatment for behavioral disturbances in dementia (risperidone); and cholinesterase inhibitor treatments, such as rivastigmine for mild to moderate dementia and donepezil for severe dementia.
I was the principal designer and principal investigator of the decisive trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that resulted in U.S. and European Union approval of the first treatment for advanced Alzheimer’s disease, memantine.
My colleagues and I developed the concepts behind and coined the term “mild cognitive impairment,” now a clinically recognized entity. My descriptions of an even earlier stage, “subjective cognitive impairment,” are increasingly being recognized as the earliest manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease. At the other end of the severity spectrum, the staging procedures I developed have been used in pivotal worldwide trials of currently approved medications for advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
My description of the retrogenesis neurodevelopmental process in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is also advancing a new science of disease management and providing new insights into Alzheimer’s disease etiopathogenesis. We have recently reported that our Comprehensive, Individualized, Person-Centered Management (CI-PCM) program is 10 times more effective than either memantine or nonpharmacologic treatment alone in persons with moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease.
I have received numerous grants and awards for my research, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in Recognition of Outstanding Research from the Alzheimer’s Association and the International Conferences on Alzheimer’s Disease in 2004, the major worldwide organizations in the AD field at the time.
I am the emeritus director of the clinical core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and clinical director of the Aging and Dementia Research Center. I serve as professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. I am also director of the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Resources Program at the NYU School of Medicine. Additionally, I am an adjunct professor at the McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, Canada.
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Dementia geriatric & cognitive disorders. 2020 May 08; 1-6
Nature genetics. 2019 Sep ; 51(9):1423-1424
Alzheimer's & dementia. 2019 Mar ; 15(3):465-476