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My guest on October 15th is the awesome researcher Dr. Brianne Bettcher, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director of Neuropsychology Research at Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. We had a lovely conversation about some exciting research she is working on, and is looking for participants to join a clinical study she has created. Dr. Bri Bettcher would like people who are NOT SHOWING signs of memory loss to help her study aging habits of healthy adults 60 or older. She feels she can learn as much about memory loss from people who do not have Alzheimer’s as she does from people who do have Alzheimer’s. Below, Bri tells us about exactly what her study entails:

What I am working on:

  • Building a healthy aging program (happy to discuss any aspect of why it is important to study aging adults with no memory symptoms)
    • focused on identifying earliest changes in the brain and body that might portend future decline
    • determining what individual factors offer protection against decline (e.g., what makes us resilient to decline)
    • major focus on the immune system
      • why it is important in normal aging and early Alzheimer’s
      • how it becomes dysregulated
      • at what stage it might be a focus for targeted therapeutics
      • the immune system has become a very hot topic in research- one of the more highly covered areas at the recent international Alzheimer’s Conference
  • New R01 study (Funded by the National Institute on Aging)
    • This is a 5-year study that aims to look at the role of inflammation in the body (measured in blood) and the brain (measured in spinal fluid) on Alzheimer’s disease biology and memory function in healthy older adults.
    • By looking at both blood and spinal fluid in tandem, we will be better able to understand how the immune system is changing and possibly communicating between the brain and body
    • We will be recruiting 180 healthy older adults, age 60 and over to come in for an initial evaluation and a subsequent evaluation 2-years later.
    • We will also be tracking immune health history factors, such as infections, surgical procedures, autoimmune conditions, etc.
    • If we meet our recruitment goals, we should be able to start seeing initial results in 3-4 years.

The first study involves two research visits over the course of two years at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Compensation provided. Procedures Include: Set of tests that assess memory, attention, behavior, and the other thinking skills. It also includes a questionnaire about your health history. A blood sample, spinal fluid sample and an MRI of your brain will also be given during the process. You may qualify if you are 60 years or older are in good health and have NOT been diagnosed with a memory disorder.

If you are interested in joining the study please contact Neurology Research Partners at 303-724-4644 or email NeurologyResearchPartners@ucdenver.edu to learn more and see if you qualify. Tell them you heard about this study on the Podcast Dementia Resilience with Jill Lorenz!

Jill Lorentz & DR. Bri Bettcher