A middle aged woman looking into the sunButler Hospital’s Memory and Aging Program, under the direction of Drs. Stephen Salloway and Athene Lee, is partnering with the Indiana University School of Medicine and 14 other Alzheimer’s disease research centers around the country to study early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD).

The study, called the Longitudinal Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease Study, or LEADS for short, will enroll approximately 500 participants with early onset cognitive impairment aged 40-64 over the course of two years. A cognitively normal cohort of approximately 100 participants will also be followed for a one year comparison.

Eligible participants will undergo longitudinal clinical and cognitive assessments, computerized cognitive batteries, biomarker and genetic tests, brain imaging scans (including PET and MRI), and optional cerebral spinal fluid collection. Researchers will compare participants with early onset cognitive impairment to those with normal memory, as well as to people with more common late-onset AD to study different elements of disease progression.  This work will bridge the gap toward future clinical trials and establish an early-onset AD clinical trial network in the U.S.

LEADS is a non-randomized and non-treatment study. This trial consists of two main parts:

1.  Screening & Baseline: All procedures, testing, scans and baseline visits occur over the
course of 45 days.

2.  Active Study Phase: Participants who are cognitively normal will have one follow up visit a year
after the baseline assessments. Participants with early onset cognitive impairment will have
two follow up visits at year one and year two after their baseline visits.

While the risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases with advancing age, approximately 5 percent of Alzheimer’s patients develop symptoms before age 65 (early onset), with less than 10 percent of these patients carrying known genetic mutations for the disease. Patients with early-onset AD are understudied and are commonly excluded from clinical research and therapeutic trials because of their young age or milder memory loss. This multi-site longitudinal observational study will help researchers better understand how people develop this rare variant of Alzheimer’s disease.

To learn more visit butler.org/memory or call the Memory and Aging Program Outreach Team at (401) 455-6402.

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The Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital is a world-wide leader in the fight against Alzheimer's. We are dedicated to developing breakthrough treatments for Alzheimer's disease through cutting-edge research into early detection and treatment.

Our research and future breakthroughs depend on the participation of people with normal memory who may be at risk for dementia and those who are already experiencing memory loss, as well as the support of committed community partners, supporters and volunteers.

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Can healthy lifestyle changes help to protect memory and thinking in aging adults who are at risk? We’re looking for people ages 60 – 79 to participate in the U.S. POINTER study to find out.


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Susan Saccoccia-Olson and her father, pictured just a couple of months before his passing in 2018. Saccoccia-Olson lost both her father and her mother to Alzheimer’s disease.

After spending 25 years caring for Alzheimer’s patients Dr. Daniel Gibbs developed the disease himself. He’s now been living with it for at least 13 years, and he’s on a mission to spread an important message.


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