The Psychosocial Core has grown in scope and broadened its research agenda since its inception in 1998. The evolution of the program of the Psychosocial Core is concordant with the themes of the NYU-ADC. focusing on older adults with subjective complaints of cognitive impairment and the earliest stages of memory loss as well as its original focus on family caregivers of older adults across the entire course of AD. Our affiliated Psychosocial Research Program has conducted or is currently supporting several projects to understand and ameliorate the emotional consequences of the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). The Psychosocial Core conducts a comprehensive assessment of the primary caregivers of all subjects participating in the Clinical Core, and family members of those with MCI and AD. follows them longitudinally and provides them with counseling on request. The routine structured multifaceted assessment is in two parts: the first part includes measures of depression, anxiety, social network and support and quality of life;the second part measures family conflict, behavior problems and caregiver reaction, caregiver appraisal, formal and informal support utilization and other specific characteristics related to caregiving. Family members of patients with AD complete the entire assessment. Subjects with MCI, their study partners and cognitively normal subjects who are not caregivers complete only the first part of this assessment. At the conclusion of every diagnostic evaluation of the Clinical Core, counselors of the Psychosocial Core conduct conferences with the subject, primary caregiver (if appropriate) and other family members. The counseling staff is available to respond to requests for help and information, are a user-friendly resource and a link between center subjects and other center staff. Their activities facilitate recruitment of new subjects, retention of current subjects and participation of subjects in autopsy tracking and in research studies. The Psychosocial Core data is a resource for the research of the NYU Psychosocial Research Program, and for other collaborating investigators in the field. The large database and subject pool, to which we will continue to add new subjects and longitudinal information, will be a valuable research resource in its own right and foster the formulation of new research to improve caregiver and patient well-being.

Public Health Relevance

The Psychosocial Core provides counseling and support for all participants of the ADC and their family members. By conducting a comprehensive psychological and emotional assessment, the Psychosocial Core has developed a rich database for research into the effects of cognitive dysfunction at all levels on the individual and on the family and is a source of participants for studies of interventions in the ADC-affiliated Psychosocial Research Program.

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National Institute on Aging (NIA)
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