Wisconsin Medicine Livestream: Ending Alzheimer’s

MADISON, WI (September 14, 2020) — Alzheimer’s disease destroys memories. It devastates families. It’s the only cause of death among the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented or cured. But there is hope. Because the UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s, a collaboration of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, is committed to finding a cure.

The next Wisconsin Medicine Livestream will explore the overarching structure of the Initiative to end Alzheimer’s. You’ll also learn about what the WRAP study is, and how biomarkers and breakthroughs in early detection are helping prevent or slow dementia. In addition, find out about health conditions that pose higher risks of contracting the disease, and the outreach programs that support families and dementia caregivers, improve early diagnosis, and work to reduce health disparities in underserved communities. The presentation will be moderated by Robert N. Golden, MD, the dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Our Guests:

Sanjay Asthana, MD

Dr. Sanjay Asthana is the founding director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) and an internationally renowned researcher and leader in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to his work as director of the Wisconsin ADRC, Dr. Asthana holds myriad leadership positions at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Asthana sees patients in the UW Health Memory Assessment Clinic, specializing in assessing and diagnosing patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Dr. Asthana has been funded continuously by the National Institutes of Health for more than 22 years and has published extensively in the fields of hormone therapy, Alzheimer’s disease, and gerontology. He has conceived and guided numerous research studies in the fields of dementia and aging research and has collaborated with investigators conducting clinical Alzheimer’s disease research. The primary focus of his research relates to the psychopharmacology and neuroendocrinology of estrogen and related gonadal hormones in Alzheimer’s disease. Additional major research interests involve collaborative studies in the field of antecedent biomarkers of preclinical stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sterling Johnson, PhD

Dr. Sterling Johnson is a faculty member of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology and the Gene R. Finley Professor of Geriatrics and Dementia. He is the associate director and Biomarker Core leader in the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the associate director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute. Dr. Johnson leads the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), a longitudinal cohort study of more than 1,500 people at varying levels of risk for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Johnson is a clinical neuropsychologist with research interests in brain function in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. In the WRAP longitudinal study, he is investigating the many factors (health and lifestyle and genetics) that lead to vulnerability to cognitive decline. Central to addressing the goals of the WRAP study, his current research focuses on tau and amyloid imaging in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, developing better methods for identifying cognitive decline, computer vision and machine-learning-based multimodal imaging markers of Alzheimer’s disease, and enriching clinical trials and improving trial design to speed the discovery of effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

Cynthia Carlsson, MD, MS

Dr. Cynthia Carlsson is a faculty member of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology within the Department of Medicine. She is also the Louis A. Holland, Sr., Endowed Professor in Alzheimer’s Disease and the director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute; the Clinical Core leader and a coleader for the Biomarker Core in the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center; and a recipient of a University of Wisconsin Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship. Dr. Carlsson is a member of the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA) Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Clinical Core Steering Committee and Clinical Task Force, and she chairs several NIH/NIA research review committees. Dr. Carlsson is a geriatrician who treats veterans with dementia and memory issues at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and is the codirector of the Memory Assessment Clinic there.

Dr. Carlsson’s research focuses on the effects of vascular risk factors and their treatments on cognition and biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in persons at risk for dementia. She and her colleagues are conducting clinical trials investigating the impact of vascular risk factors on risk of cognitive decline in middle-aged adults with parental history of Alzheimer’s disease. Her research aims to improve timely identification of and intervention for memory disorders in underserved communities. 

Carey Gleason, PhD

Dr. Carey Gleason is a clinical neuropsychologist who focuses on the care of geriatric patients with memory disorders. Her specialties include comprehensive geriatric assessments and memory assessments, and differential diagnosis of dementia. She is a faculty member of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology within the Department of Medicine, and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is a member of the Department of Medicine Research Committee, leads the Inclusion of Under-Represented Groups Core at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, serves on the board of directors for the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin and is a member of the Scientific Program Committee for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.