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July 14, 2015

Oral Presentations and Posters Based on Einstein Aging Study Investigate Risk Factors and Predictors of aMCI and Dementia in Older Adults 

July 14, 2015—(BRONX, NY)—Investigators at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Health System will present multiple findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, taking place July 18-23 in Washington, D.C. Research topics include risk factors for developing amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI)—a condition characterized by memory problems, and is most often a precursor of Alzheimer’s dementia. The researchers will also detail their work on new tests to predict the onset of dementia and potential new interventions to support cognitive function. 

“Though incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia are common, these brain disorders remain poorly understood in many ways,” said Richard B. Lipton, M.D., principal investigator of the NIH-funded Einstein Aging Study and the Edwin S. Lowe Chair in Neurology at Einstein and vice chair of neurology at Einstein and Montefiore. “We are focusing on how the brain ages in the absence of disease, to provide a foundation for identifying the earliest features of Alzheimer’s disease. Early detection is key to implementing effective preventive interventions.” 

The research findings are derived from the Einstein Aging Study (EAS), which has tracked cognition in elderly, non-institutionalized Bronx residents since the 1980s. Investigators for each of these studies are available to speak with media. 

Oral presentations are: 

  • Is Dementia Incidence Declining? A birth cohort analysis of the Einstein Aging Study 1993-2014—Based on the analysis of 971 EAS participants born between 1916 and 1935, those born after 1930 have an 18 percent reduction in their risk of developing dementia after adjusting for age. This may reflect improvement in the management of high blood pressure or diabetes. Presented by Carol Derby, Ph.D. Platform # O3-02-03, Descriptive Epidemiology of Dementia: New Data, New Tools (Room 146), Tuesday, July 21, 2:00-4:00 p.m. 
  • Performance on the Memory Binding Test Predicts Incident aMCI and Dementia: Results from the EAS—Binding is a form of learning that may be impaired early in the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. The Memory Binding Test (MBT) has been shown to be accurate for diagnosing current aMCI. This study evaluated its ability to predict the development of aMCI and dementia in cognitively normal older adults. Researchers evaluated 281 participants, initially free of aMCI and dementia and followed them for up to 11 years. Participants with very subtle memory problems on the MBT were 2.4 times more likely to develop aMCI.  Deficits in memory binding may be useful in predicting the onset of aMCI and dementia. Presented by Wenzhu Mowrey, Ph.D. Platform #03-10-04, Neuropsychological Features of Cognitive Decline and Subtypes (Ballroom A), Tuesday, July 21, 4:15-5:15 p.m. 

Poster presentation highlights include: 

  • Perceived Stress, APOE Status and Risk of Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI): Results from the EAS—Prior work has shown that older adults with high levels of perceived stress were at increased risk for developing aMCI.  EAS investigators examined the influence of perceived stress in persons with and without a copy of the ApOE4 gene, a major genetic risk factor for late onset Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers followed 473 study participants for an average of four years. Those who did not have the high risk gene but placed within the top quintile for perceived stress, using the Perceived Stress Scale, were 2.5 times more likely to develop aMCI. In persons with an ApOE4 gene, perceived stress was not a risk factor for aMCI onset. This suggests that the influence of stress varies with genotype in older adults. Presented by Mindy Katz, M.P.H. Poster #P3-118 (Exhibit Hall D), Tuesday, July 21, 9:30 am-4:15 p.m.
  • A Brief Dietary Assessment Predicts Executive Dysfunction in an Elderly Cohort: Results from the EAS—A cross-sectional analysis of 549 non-demented participants who completed the Rapid Eating and Activity Assessment for Patients found that the odds of having impaired executive function were 35 percent less for those with a healthy diet versus those with a less healthy one. This suggests diet is a promising target for prevention. Presented by Erin Sundermann. Poster #P3-259 (Exhibit Hall D), Tuesday, July 21, 9:30 am-4:15 p.m.
  • Coping and Distress and Risk of Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults—To determine if two factors, coping and distress, on the 14-item Perceived Stress Scale could predict time to aMCI in older adults with normal cognition, investigators followed 582 individuals an average of 3.6 years. Those who have the poorest coping skills had a 71 percent increased risk of incident aMCI, compared with subjects who had more effective coping ability. Distress did not predict aMCI. Presented by Julie Jiang, M.D. Poster #P1-022 (Exhibit Hall D), Sunday, July 19, 9:30 am-4:15 p.m. 

Several other posters from Einstein–Montefiore researchers will also be presented at AAIC. Topics include white matter hyperintensities, validity of the Memory Binding Test, and gender differences in scores on verbal memory tests.