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National Brain Imaging Study on Alzheimer’s Underway at Albany Medical Center
   February 10, 2006


          ALBANY, N.Y., February 10, 2006 — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking men and women in the Capital Region between the ages of 55 and 90 to participate in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a landmark research study. The study is being conducted locally at Albany Medical Center, as part of a nationwide, $60 million effort to identify brain and other biological changes associated with memory decline.


The 5-year project was begun by the National Institute on Aging at the NIH and is supported by more than a dozen other federal agencies and private-sector companies and organizations, making it the largest public-private partnership on brain research underway at the NIH. Investigators at 58 local sites across the United States and Canada are involved in the study. The study is led by Michael Weiner, M.D., San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco; Leon Thal, M.D., University of California at San Diego; and Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

The goal of the initiative is to speed up the search for treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s disease by seeing whether imaging of the brain, through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans, every 6 months can help predict and monitor the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. In addition, samples of blood and, for some participants, cerebral spinal fluid will be collected and tested to determine if these biomarkers can predict and monitor the disease. It is hoped that imaging techniques and biomarkers will prove useful in testing the effectiveness of new therapies in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s or preventing the disease altogether.


Researchers are looking for 800 people who are in good general health with no memory problems, or are in good general health but have memory problems or concerns, or have a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease.


A special aspect of the project is the support of Dr. Maya Angelou, the eminent poet, author, educator, and historian. Dr. Angelou, a professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., is working with the researchers to ask the public to take part in the study. She will support the national ADNI recruitment outreach campaign, “Imagine Stopping the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease,” by appearing in radio and print public service announcements. Dr. Angelou has a number of dear friends who have suffered the effects of Alzheimer’s.


Alzheimer’s disease affects one in 10 Americans over the age of 65. By the year 2050, 13 million Americans may suffer from the disease. 


To arrange an interview with Earl Zimmerman, M.D., director of the Neurosciences Advanced Imaging Center at Albany Medical Center and principal investigator of the study at Albany Med, please call Nicole Pitaniello, assistant vice president for public relations, at 262-3421.

For more information about the study, please contact the NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education & Referral (ADEAR) Center at 800-438-4380 or visit Spanish-language capabilities are available at some of the study sites. B-roll and sound bites related to the study will be fed on AMC4 / (c) 17 (dl4140H) on February 14, 2006, from 14:00-14:30 EST and again on IA5 / 19 (c) (dl4080V) on February 15, 2006, from 13:30-14:00 EST. If you miss the feed and need a hard copy, contact Amy Lange at 202-745-5100 or

Albany Medical Center is northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center. It consists of Albany Medical College, Albany Medical Center Hospital; and the Albany Medical Center Foundation, Inc. Additional information about Albany Medical Center can be found at



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