In the past, cognitive aging has been defined as ‘normal’ age-related changes in cognition and behavior. However, recent evidence and ongoing research in the department may suggest otherwise. We may be able to prevent decline in memory, just as we can reduce the threat of stroke by lessening risk factors.
Therefore, we are approaching cognitive aging research three main avenues:
- Helping to uncover the environmental and vascular risk factors for cognitive aging
- Determining the meaning of early changes in brain MRI as it relates to cognition and cognitive decline
- Finding new genetic determinants for cognitive aging
Access to clinical trials only available through the University of Miami sets us apart as the premier place for treating Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders. Here are some commonly asked questions regarding our research programs:
Why Choose UHealth?How do the research programs at UM work? UM Neurology has an ever-growing memory research program. UM researchers collaborate with each other as well as scientists throughout the country. We are proud of our researchers, their dedication, and their significant accomplishments.
What are researchers studying? UM researchers are studying many issues related to memory loss, including the causes and the treatments of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
What are your research goals? We want to understand why people develop problems with their memory as they age. We also want to understand the factors that make someone susceptible to dementia.
What types of research programs are underway? There are many. In one program, UM researchers are studying the genetics of memory diseases to find out whether someone is born with these diseases that will become apparent in later years. Gene therapy may one day allow these genetically susceptible people a treatment to prevent memory loss and dementia.
What else are you researching? We are studying whether the accumulation of amyloid protein in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients can be interrupted and whether this prevents the disease from worsening. UM researchers are also studying the effects of diet and nutrition on brain health and memory.
What about using stem cells for memory loss? Stem cells are one of the most exciting areas of research today. We all have stem cells in many areas of our bodies including our brain. Scientists are looking to find ways to mobilize our own stem cells and enhance their ability to repair or restore damaged areas of the brain.
Aren’t stem cells difficult to obtain? No. Science has advanced so that we can now take stem cells from the skin, bone marrow, fatty tissues or other parts of the body. Fetal stem cells are no longer necessary.
How do stem cells work? Stem cells have the potential to repair or replace damaged brain tissue and thereby restore functions of the brain including memory.