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Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Initiative To End Alzheimers Pride Points

Healthy Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Cognitive and Social Engagement
  • Statewide diagnostic clinics provide quality care to more than 3,000 new patients annually.

  • The Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimers Prevention is one of the largest and longest running family history studies of Alzheimers disease in the world.

  • More than 100 students and trainees are affiliated with the UW Initiative to End Alzheimers research and science education programs, educating future leaders in geriatrics and dementia care.

  • The Wisconsin Alzheimers Institute trains and supports memory clinic providers at more than 40 clinics throughout the state through the WAI-Affiliated Dementia Diagnostic Clinic Network.

  • There are 1,400 registered donors in the Wisconsin Brain Donor Program.

  • Alzheimers disease researchers at UWMadison conduct more than 50 studies annually. Learn how you can volunteer for research.

  • The UW Initiative to End Alzheimers is home to one of 33 National Institute on Agingdesignated Alzheimers Disease Research Centers. Its the only one in Wisconsin and the only one in the nation focused on geriatric care.

  • The UW Initiative to End Alzheimers is part of a national strategy to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimers disease by 2025.

About The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

The Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Center combines academic, clinical, and research expertise from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center of the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison. Founded in 2009, the ADRC receives funding from private, university, state, and national sources, including a National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging grant for Alzheimers Research Centers .


Outreach Recruitment & Engagement Core

The Outreach, Recruitment & Engagement Core plans and executes education and training to enhance research and clinical skills in the area of Alzheimers disease and related dementias. It supports the Wisconsin ADRC in recruiting and retaining a diverse population of research subjects for the Clinical Core study, as well as Wisconsin ADRC-affiliated studies. The core staff also provides outreach programs to engage health professionals, families and caregivers and encourage participation in the activities of the Wisconsin ADRC.Core Co-Leader: Art Walaszek, MD

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About Wisconsin Alzheimers Institute

The Wisconsin Alzheimers Institute is committed to helping people living with Alzheimers disease or other dementia, their caregivers, and the health professionals working to support them.

Our mission is to promote health equity and improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimers disease and other dementias and their families through research, education, clinical care, and community engagement.

Our purpose is to increase dementia awareness, provide education on Alzheimers disease and related disorders, identify and disseminate strategies to reduce dementia risk, convene stakeholders across the state, improve access to quality dementia care services, and to develop and support culturally tailored, effective clinical and community-based models of care.

Our commitment is to advancing health equity. In 2021, we pledged to strengthen this commitment and announced our WAI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement:

In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea to share knowledge, WAI collaborates with both rural communities and urban centers, the Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Center , and various University of Wisconsin academic and research departments.

WAI receives core funding from the state of Wisconsin, research funding from the National Institutes of Health , and program funding from Bader Philanthropies.

The WAI is home to the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimers Prevention , the largest family history study of Alzheimers disease in the world.

How Alzheimers Disease Research Centers Advance Research

Wisconsin Alzheimer

ADRCs conduct research spanning from the causes of and risk factors for Alzheimers and related dementias to potential treatments to managing symptoms and helping families cope. Following are highlights of center activities:

Much of the important progress in Alzheimers research in the United States during the past 35 years stems from research conducted at or with the help of resources provided by the ADRCs. For example, center researchers have:

  • Conducted a significant amount of the research on the processes behind amyloid plaque and tau tangle formation in the brain, which are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Characterized abnormal proteins associated with several different neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Evaluated cognitive changes associated with normal aging and the transitions from early difficulties thinking and remembering to dementia.
  • Identified factors that contribute to changes in cognitive abilities, such as social and physical activity.
  • Related changes in brain structure to the clinical stages of Alzheimer’s using information gathered from participants during cognitive tests and assessments, brain imaging scans, and autopsies of donated brains.

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Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers

The National Institute on Aging funds 33 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers at major medical institutions across the United States. Researchers at these Centers are working to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and care for people with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as working to find a treatment or way to prevent Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. In addition, NIA funds four Exploratory ADRCs that are designed to expand and diversify research and education opportunities to new areas of the country, new populations, and new areas of science and approaches to research.

For people and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, the ADRCs offer:

  • Help with obtaining diagnosis and medical management
  • Information about Alzheimer’s and related dementias, services, and resources
  • Opportunities for volunteers to participate in clinical trials and studies and research registries
  • Support groups and other special programs for volunteers and their families

Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Study Marks New Milestone

MADISON, Wis. – A Wisconsin study on Alzheimers disease marked its 20th year Tuesday, making it the largest family history study of the disease in the world.

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health noted the study, known as the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimers Prevention, more than 1,700 research participants have been involved in the study since 2001.

The study follows people over time to learn about the biological, health and lifestyle factors that may influence Alzheimers disease. Seventy percent of the participants have a family history of the disease.

Sterling Johnson, WRAP principal investigator and UW professor of medicine, noted that the longer a person is included in the study, the more researchers can learn about changes to the brain and how it relates to cognitive function over the course of time.

Our participants and our researchers are a team, Johnson said. We are enabling real progress toward a future of delaying, preventing and ending Alzheimers disease.

Researchers note that subjects come in every two years for tasks like memory testing, blood draws and interviews. A subgroup also goes through brain imaging and spinal fluid tests.

The school of medicine noted this allows them to understand patterns that may be related to the development of Alzheimers or the prevention of it before symptoms come in.

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A Better Tomorrow For Future Generations

We have seen firsthand how dementia and Alzheimers have scourged so many in our parents generation. Jill and I are determined to make things better for our generation and the ones that follow.

After losing his mother to Alzheimers disease and his father to dementia, Jim Kubek, and his wife, Jill, are doing all they can in support of the UWs mission for a cure to Alzheimers disease. Whether participating in longitudinal clinical studies, assisting elder populations and their families, or creating matching gift opportunities, the Kubeks hope to provide a better future for generations to come.

Alzheimers Disease Research Centers: National Research Centers Local Resources

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The Alzheimers Disease Research Centers offer local resources, support, and opportunities to participate in research on Alzheimers disease and related dementias. These centers are dedicated to developing and testing new ways to detect, diagnose, treat, and prevent dementia and to improving care for people with these diseases and their families. The National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health funds more than 30 ADRCs at medical institutions across the country. Each center has specific scientific and population areas of focus.

A common goal of the centers’ network is to enhance research by sharing new ideas and results among the centers. By working collaboratively, the ADRCs have produced research findings and resources that have made significant contributions to addressing Alzheimers and related dementias.

For families affected by Alzheimers and related dementias, ADRCs offer:

  • Help with obtaining diagnosis and managing your care
  • Information about the diseases, services, and resources
  • Opportunities for volunteers to participate in clinical trials and studies that contribute to improved understanding of dementia, which may lead to new treatments and better care
  • Support groups and other special programs for volunteers and their families

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The History Of Alzheimers Disease Research Centers

Congress authorized the establishment of the first centers, known then as Alzheimers Disease Centers, through NIH funding in the mid-1980s. Over the years, the centers’ program has expanded to support the nations increased efforts to address Alzheimers and related dementias.

The main objectives of the ADRCs program are to:

  • Conduct cutting-edge basic, clinical, and translational research and provide resources and infrastructure to support national and international goals in Alzheimers and dementia research
  • Train the next generation of researchers in an environment that supports interactions across scientific disciplines
  • Provide information to the public about research findings, access to support services, and opportunities to participate in research

Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Center Offers Memory Studies

Special promotional content for Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Center.

Unfortunately, the numbers show that African Americans are at 1½ to 2 times higher risk for Alzheimers disease and dementia. What we like to do is to preserve peoples precious memories. Its a very devastating disease and the earlier that people get diagnosed, the better chance of benefiting from treatment, says Dr. Fabu Carter, Senior Outreach Program Manager for Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Center.

The Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Centers mission is to improve the lives of people affected by Alzheimers disease by facilitating innovative science that targets the prevention and treatment of the disease.

Part of what we do is to educate people about the disease but also wed like to create awareness. It could be a loved one in your family a grandparent or aunt or uncle who might be showing signs of memory loss. The very basic definition of dementia is the inability to carry on your daily functions, Carter says. In the case of dementia, it doesnt mean if that youre merely not remembering as you usually remember. Dementia means that you also are unable to successfully navigate to your day-to-day life. Maybe you forget appointments, or have problems driving or similar lapses in your ability to navigate day-to-day tasks these are signs that should encourage a person to get help.

The purpose of doing research, Carter adds, is to better determine this.

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A Voice For Alzheimers Research

Alzheimers disease takes an enormous toll on families, but thanks to work being done at UW Health there is reason for hope.

Losing his mother to Alzheimers disease in 2017 motivated sportscaster and radio voice for the Wisconsin Badgers mens basketball and football teams Matt Lepay and his wife, Linda, to join the board of visitors for the University of Wisconsin Initiative to End Alzheimers. Now, they are working to spread the word and create more awareness about the race for a cure and the critical research being done at the Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Center.

Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Center Mri Study

History and Mission

The PI of this project was:

This project was funded by: NIH

The term of this project was: to

The number of subjects scanned during this project was: 80

The broad research goals of the Wisconsin Alzheimers Disease Research Center are to promote preclinical diagnosis of Alzheimers disease and identification of early intervention and prevention strategies. The goal is to establish a pool of patients to support translational research in dementia. This Wisconsin ADRC Clinical Core will consist of 5 subgroups: 1) patients with mild late-onset AD, 2) patients with mild cognitive impairment , 3) age-matched healthy older controls, 4) middle-aged adults with a parental history of AD , and 5) middle-aged adults whose father survived to 70 and mother 75 without signs or symptoms of dementia . Each participant will be asked to participant in an MRI at their baseline visit. The MRI is an optional procedure. Specific neuroimaging data that will be collected include a 3D T1-weighted volumetric scan, a 6-minute whole-brain perfusion scan with arterial spin labeling, and a new 3D high resolution FLAIR scan.

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Are You Over 18 Years Old

If you answered yes to the questions above, you may beeligible to participate in a research study.

Researchers from Case Western ReserveUniversity, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, University Hospitals and the LouisStokes Cleveland VA Medical Center have joined together to form The ClevelandAlzheimers Disease Research Center which aims to study the differentforms of dementia in the hope that learning more about the disease can lead tonew forms of treating, and eventually curing, Alzheimers and relateddisorders.

Study participants will take part in cognitive testing, blooddraws, physical exams, imaging scans, and other selective procedures. Follow upvisits will occur annually. Compensation for completed study visits will beprovided.

If you are interested in finding out more information foryourself or someone you know, please call the toll free number at:


Data Management And Statistical Core

The Data Management and Statistical Core provides and maintains quality protocol and data management for projects affiliated with the Wisconsin ADRC. Its members provide comprehensive statistical support to all Wisconsin ADRC-affiliated projects, as well as biomedical computing infrastructure and services.Core Co-Leader: Yue Ma, PhD

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Lets Make Alzheimers A Distant Memory

Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimers disease. Its the only disease among the nations top 10 leading causes of death that has no treatment, prevention, or cure.

The vision of the UW Initiative to End Alzheimers is to improve early and accurate diagnosis, treatment, and care for patients with Alzheimers disease and related dementias. At the same time, UW researchers are focusing on the long-term goal of preventing Alzheimers disease. These researchers are part of a network of Alzheimers Disease Research Centers across the country and collaborate internationally.

Nearly 5,000 Wisconsinites are currently enrolled in Alzheimers disease research studies at UWMadison. By using innovative brain imaging, UW scientists have painstakingly traced the progression of the unique brain plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimers disease. And because of your support, the questions of who gets Alzheimers disease and why are closer than ever to being answered.

Wisconsin Medicine is a partnership between world-leading medical institutions UW Health and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, who have partnered for more than 100 years on innovative treatments, research, education, and compassionate patient care. This powerful combination is in a unique position to usher in a new era through the Wisconsin Medicine campaign.

Make Your Impact

Questions About The Alzheimers Initiative

Dr. Daniel I. Kaufer Lecture series: Diagnosis and Management of Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Ushering in a new era of medicine and tackling the toughest challenges in health care may leave you as curious as you are excited.

To discover more about planned giving and chairs and professorships and how vital both are to keeping the Initiative to End Alzheimers a leader in this fight please complete the following contact form. Reach out with any questions or comments about those major efforts or other issues youd like to discuss. Wed love to continue the conversation about the ways the Initiative to End Alzheimers is working to find a cure and improve care.

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Noninvasive Brain Stimulation In Alzheimers Disease And Related Disorders

The Amyloid Hypothesis has been the leading scientific model for the development of Alzheimers Disease treatments, but recent high-profile clinical trial failures highlight the importance of developing therapies that go beyond the targeting of amyloid and tau protein to help restore other anomalous physiologic mechanisms. It is in this context that the Granadillo Lab pursues research aimed at normalizing aberrant patterns of brain network connectivity and the hampered neuroplasticity that is often associated with AD and related disorders.

In partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their Alzheimers Disease Research Center , the Granadillo Lab is also conducting a study in patients with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment , a condition that carries an increased risk of progression to AD dementia. This 2-site feasibility trial studies the potentially beneficial short and long-term effects of multi-field and extended HD-tDCS when coupled with computerized cognitive training the neural correlates of this novel intervention will be explored using advanced MRI techniques . Current flow modeling is used to predict effects on cognitive networks known to be affected in this condition .

Figure 3. A study of HD-tDCS in aMCI. Visualization of current flow modeling using standard MRI and head model, showing the right temporoparietal network , one of four networks to be stimulated in this study. Heat map color corresponds to higher field intensity .

Mcw Neurodegenerative Translational Research Program

Dr. Franczak is the current director of NTRP, and Dr. Laura Umfleet joined as co-director in 2018. NTRP has grown over the past several years and now includes basic scientists from MCW Radiology, neuropsychologists, and medical and neuropsychological residents/fellows. More recently, members of NTRP have started collaborating with other disciplines , which further fosters collaborations between clinician scientists and basic scientists. The primary aim of our research program is to reduce neurologic morbidity and optimize health in aging adults. Our goals are threefold: 1) improve early detection of neurodegenerative diseases , 2) identify new risk factors and possible causes of dementia to discover new treatment targets, and 3) develop effective interventions.

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