Epidemiology is an inherently multidisciplinary, translational field of study that examines the distribution and determinants of disease in the population. Although its basic building blocks of prevalence, incidence, and risk factors are widely acknowledged, its role in clinical and translational research is less well appreciated and utilized. Epidemiology can contribute to guiding clinical trials design, to validating diagnostic criteria and biomarkers, to identifying - at the population level - signals of potential disease mechanisms to be investigated at the clinical and laboratory levels. The Candidate is a seasoned psychiatrist and neuroepidemiologist. This K07 Leadership Award in Aging will allow her to develop a new program at the University of Pittsburgh in the epidemiology of brain and behavior in aging. Specifically, 3 groups of activities are proposed: (1) A multi-level curriculum in Aging Brain-Behavior Epidemiology, with several classes and seminars targeting clinical residents and fellows, psychology interns, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty in neurology, psychiatry, geriatric medicine, psychology, and epidemiology, building on and expanding currently available educational offerings. (2) A multidisciplinary Research Forum on Cancer and Neurodegeneration, based on intriguing epidemiologic evidence of an inverse relationship between neurodegeneration and certain cancers. This Forum will bring together researchers from clinical, basic, and translational neuroscience, neuroepidemiologists, oncologists, cancer epidemiologists, geneticists, immunologists, and related disciplines, to review and discuss emerging science, generate innovative hypotheses leading to pilot studies, and collaborative research. (3) A range of Research Practice offering mentored research opportunities to early stage investigators, including (i) a novel study of cognitive impairment in a cohort of middle-aged women who have been well-characterized for alcohol and cannabis use and followed for 22 years;(ii) secondary analyses of data from the Candidate's four large epidemiologic studies of cognitive impairment and dementia;(iii) pilot studies derived from the forum on cancer and neurodegeneration. This program will also organize conferences to broadly disseminate results of research as well as curricular efforts. Thus, it will introduce educational enhancements and catalyze innovative multidisciplinary translational research with a population perspective. It will not only generate new science but result in the development of a multidisciplinary cadre of investigators who will be equipped with a sound grasp of critical epidemiological principles and methods to inform their research into brain disorders of aging.

Public Health Relevance

This K07 Leadership Award in Aging will allow the Candidate, Dr. Mary Ganguli, to develop a research education and training program in the Epidemiology of Aging Brain and Behavior at the University of Pittsburgh. This program will offer classes and seminars to trainees and faculty across disciplines that study brain disorders (psychiatry, neurology, and neuroscience), provide mentored research opportunities in epidemiology, and also develop a multidisciplinary forum to discuss and study the intriguing relationships between brain degeneration and certain cancers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
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Neuroscience of Aging Review Committee (NIA)
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Wagster, Molly V
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Ganguli, Mary; Lee, Ching-Wen; Hughes, Tiffany et al. (2015) Who wants a free brain scan? Assessing and correcting for recruitment biases in a population-based sMRI pilot study. Brain Imaging Behav 9:204-12
Sachdev, Perminder; Kalaria, Raj; O'Brien, John et al. (2014) Diagnostic criteria for vascular cognitive disorders: a VASCOG statement. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 28:206-18
Hugo, Julie; Ganguli, Mary (2014) Dementia and cognitive impairment: epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment. Clin Geriatr Med 30:421-42
Andreescu, Carmen; Teverovsky, Esther; Fu, Bo et al. (2014) Old worries and new anxieties: behavioral symptoms and mild cognitive impairment in a population study. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 22:274-84
Ganguli, Mary; Lee, Ching-Wen; Snitz, Beth E et al. (2014) How well do MCI criteria predict progression to severe cognitive impairment and dementia? Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 28:113-21
Tierney, Mary C; Naglie, Gary; Upshur, Ross et al. (2014) Factors associated with primary care physicians' recognition of cognitive impairment in their older patients. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 28:320-5
Hughes, Tiffany F; Flatt, Jason D; Fu, Bo et al. (2014) Interactive video gaming compared with health education in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: a feasibility study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 29:890-8
Ganguli, Mary; Fu, Bo; Snitz, Beth E et al. (2014) Vascular risk factors and cognitive decline in a population sample. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 28:9-15
Sachdev, Perminder S; Blacker, Deborah; Blazer, Dan G et al. (2014) Classifying neurocognitive disorders: the DSM-5 approach. Nat Rev Neurol 10:634-42