Dr. Jason Karlawish and Dr. Emily Largent offer their takes on using driving performance and credit scores to predict the onset of dementia. Should entities like auto insurance companies have access to test results of these predictors? Dr. Largent weighs in.
By Cait Kearney
“PMC is a wonderful organization, and having been a part of helping advance its mission has been a rewarding experience I will cherish forever,” Johnston Esparza said.
Johnston Esparza joined PMC as a clinical research coordinator for the REVEAL-SCAN Study (Risk Evaluation and Education of Alzheimer’s Disease: The Study of Communicating Amyloid Neuroimaging), a project investigating the impact of learning one’s personal risk of having Alzheimer’s disease on thinking and health behaviors.
“Melissa is a stellar coordinator. She stepped into a study that was in distress and quickly turned it around and into a great scientific success,” said Jason Karlawish, MD, co-director of PMC and co-principal investigator of the REVEAL-SCAN Study.
By Cait Kearney
Matthew Ferrara, MS Ed., is leaving the Penn Memory Center (PMC) after three years as a clinical research coordinator.
“Matt has been an absolute delight to work with in his time here at the PMC,” said PMC Co-Director David Wolk, MD, “Matt will be missed by our faculty, staff, and research participants.”
Ferrara joined PMC in 2018 as a coordinator for PMC’s largest study — the Aging Brain Cohort (ABC) Study. Data collected through the ABC Study is used by scientists across the nation and the world to research Alzheimer’s disease and life-long brain health.
“He displayed a remarkable dedication to the success of the ABC study to the benefit of our research participants and the numerous studies that depend on these data,” Dr. Wolk said.
In a recent Vox article, assistant director of social work Alison Lynn, MSW, PMC researcher Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN, and PMC co-director Jason Karlwish, MD, offered insight into the uncertainties people with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and their caregivers may face and discussed the added stress they may feel from the controversy around Aduhelm. (Image: Christina Animashaun/Vox)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revised its recommendation of who should receive Aduhelm, the controversial Alzheimer’s disease drug approved by the FDA last month.
The original label stated the treatment was for anyone with Alzheimer’s disease, encompassing six million Americans. Under the new label, the FDA recommends Aduhelm to “patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia stage of disease,” reflecting the population tested in clinical trials and cutting the number of eligible Americans to about two million.
“The revision of this label is yet another piece of evidence that should cause the American public to be concerned about how FDA is practicing its regulatory science,” PMC co-director Dr. Jason Karlawish told the New York Times.
By Varshini Chellapilla
Hannah Cao, a Penn Program on Precision Medicine for the Brain (P3MB) research intern, has completed her time at the Penn Memory Center and will be moving on to Boston as a social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Cao was a candidate for the master of social work at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice when she joined P3MB researcher and clinical psychologist Shana Stites, PsyD, MA, MS, on the Gender’s Impact on Cognition in Older Adults (CoGenT3) study.
“Hannah is amazing,” Dr. Stites said. “She showed up uncertain about research, then took to it like a fish to water. She quickly became the cornerstone of the COGENT3 study and has been a pleasure to mentor. She’s going to continue to do great at all she does.”
Dr. Jason Karlawish, co-director of PMC, was quoted by The Washington Post regarding the negative potential consequences of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Aduhelm.
“Companies are companies, I can’t fault them for doing what companies do, but we have now unleashed drugs that we are not sure what the benefits are, and that could have enormous consequences,” said Dr. Jason Karlawish.
PMC co-director Dr. Jason Karlawish was quoted in The New York Times regarding the uncertainties surrounding Aduhelm, the Alzheimer’s disease drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. When asked if adults should consider Aduhelm, Dr. Karlawish said, “The F.D.A. has passed the determination along to the American family.”
Understanding the way that Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias affect loved ones is a hard concept for many adults to wrap their head around. For children, it might seem tougher to explain and comprehend.
Alison Lynn, MSW, LCSW, associate director for social work at the Penn Memory Center, suggests children’s books as a way to introduce a diagnosis to them and its effects on their relationships with older loved ones.
“We get a fair number of questions regarding grandchildren in families that live together intergenerationally,” Lynn said. “Questions are more commonly focused on what to do after the diagnosis and the real-world issues that arise than about how to explain the diagnosis itself. Situations like these have also increased due to the pandemic.”
Children’s books that address dementia and Alzheimer’s disease help relay the concepts that are less concrete and harder to grasp.