About the ADRC

The Alzheimer Disease Research Center at USC is supported by the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on memory problems and aging. Our studies include observational studies that follow participants over time while examining changes that may occur with age, and therapy studies such as exercise training, medications and vaccines. Our goals are to understand the biological changes that may precede worsening memory and to assess whether new treatments including drugs may be helpful in preventing memory or improving memory loss.

Please see our studies below and contact us for further information:
(323) 442 7600 or email us at adrc@med.usc.edu

Current Studies

Healthier Vessels, Healthier Brain Study (HVHB)

The purpose of this study is to learn how medical conditions affecting the blood vessels of the brain such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, or high blood sugar may be related to developing Alzheimer disease in the future. This study is designed to examine biological markers in the blood and spinal fluid, and changes in the brain’s structure. Our goal is to use the information collected from this study for future programs that will reduce the risk for memory loss or Alzheimer disease.

English- or Spanish-speaking men and women of 60 years or older are eligible for the HVHB study. Participants will receive medical examinations, tests of memory and daily function, MRI brain scans, blood tests, and a test of cerebral spinal fluid.

Study participants receive a small financial compensation for visits to USC.

Please call Meseret Alemu at (323) 442-7555 or Nadine Diaz, MSW at (323) 442-7603 for more information.

Brain Research Study

The goal of this study is to learn about the biological changes of normal aging, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s related conditions through brain donation and autopsy. Participants will generally visit us at USC every year for memory testing, a brief medical history, and review of function and medication changes. Participants in the Brain Research Study can be in our other studies as well and may receive brain MRI or PET scans.

Potential volunteers include older people with no memory impairments, mild impairments, or mild Alzheimer’s disease who are willing to visit us usually yearly and to donate their brain when the time comes. The autopsy focuses on the brain and provides us with scientific information about aging, other conditions such as atherosclerosis, inflammation, and mini-strokes.

We will send a report of our findings to a family member soon afterwards. The autopsy does not complicate a funeral or affect a viewing. There are no charges for the study procedures, autopsy, neuropathology report or discussions with the family.

If you are interested in becoming a participant in this very important study, then please contact John Danner LCSW at JohnJ.Danner@med.usc.edu or Nadine Diaz MSW at Nadine.Diaz@med.usc.edu or call us at 323-442-7600 for information.

LEARNit (Lifestyle Enriching Activities for Research in Neuroscience, intervention trial)

The goal of this study is to examine the relationship between physical or mental activity and brain health in a non-drug, behavioral clinical trial. Eligible participants will be involved in a 6-month, at-home, healthy living program involving physical or mental activity. Participants will visit USC’s Health Sciences Campus to complete physical testing, brain scans, memory testing, questionnaires, and medical history intake. Potential volunteers include those 60-80 years of age who are able to walk without assistance and are willing to visit us three times over a 12 month period.

Participants will be provided with a wearable fitness tracker which records the amount of activity throughout the day, and an MRI scan of their brain. There are no charges for the study procedures, at home visits, or materials. Participants may receive compensation for their time.

If you are interested in becoming a participant in this aging and brain research study, please contact Lisette Isenberg at Lisette.Isenberg@loni.usc.edu or call 323-442-0141 for more information; or Judy Pa, PhD, USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute at judypa@usc.edu

Estudio de la Enfermedad de Alzheimer en Jalisciences (EEAJ)

This NIH-funded study is focused on understanding Alzheimer’s in persons of Mexican Mestizo origin and its genetics as different types may respond differentially to treatments. In this study we apply the Human Connectome Protocol (HCP), a special kind of MRI procedure, to persons with or at-risk for genetic forms of AD and persons of Mexican descent. By applying the HCP protocol along with PET scans, we are testing to see whether the spread of an abnormal protein called tau is critical to the causes of Alzheimer’s and whether it is a special subtype of the illness. Participants will undergo approximately 4 days of assessment with cognitive evaluations, a neurological examination, 2 MRI sessions, a PET scan, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. They are compensated for the time involved and travel expenses.

For more information, please contact Lucy Montoya at (323) 723-2599 or Dr. John Ringman at (323) 442-0321.

ADNI 3 Imaging Study

The Alzheimer Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) is inviting volunteers to join our 800 current participants in the third phase of this multiyear study. ADNI 3 is studying changes in cognition, function, brain structure, and biomarkers.

To qualify one must be: over age 55, in good general health, cognitively normal, and fluent in English or Spanish. ADNI 3 will also be recruiting those with mild memory problems and those who have mild Alzheimer disease. Participants must be willing to undergo in-clinic assessments, memory testing and other test procedures, and have a study partner who can accompany them to clinic visits.

Qualified participants may receive physical and neurological exams, cognitive testing, MRI scans and PET brain scans.

For further information, please contact us:
Nadine Diaz, MSW (Nadine.Diaz@med.usc.edu)
(323) 442-7600

Click to view our PDF brochure.

The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN)

DIAN is an NIH-funded multicenter study to identify biomarkers that are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s in people who carry a genetic change causing autosomal dominant AD (ADAD). Though ADAD represents less than 1% of all cases, it is an important model for study because the responsible genetic changes have known biochemical consequences and underlie its pathology. Potential participants must be affected by or at-risk for inheriting a mutation known to cause ADAD. They will undergo cognitive and clinical assessments, an MRI scan, one or two PET scans, and a lumbar puncture. Procedures take approximately three days and participants are compensated for the time involved and travel. Participants who wish to know their mutation status can do so and can also have genetic counseling at no cost.

For more information, please contact Lucy Montoya at (323) 723-2599 or Dr. John Ringman at (323) 442-0321.

T2 Protect AD

The T2 Protect AD Study is a clinical trial testing the investigational drug Troriluzole for people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The USC Alzheimer Disease Research Center is testing how well a drug can protect against, or slow down, memory and thinking problems that increase as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. The research team is looking for volunteers (ages 50 to 85) who have mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease to join our study. A potential participant will first go through a screening process to see if they are eligible to take part in the clinical trial. If you eligible and choose to join the study, participation in the study will take 48 weeks. Study participants visit the study clinic 9 times after enrollment in the trial.

For more information, please contact the Project Director, Karen Dagerman at (323) 442-7600 or email at adrc@med.usc.edu .

The DHA Brain Delivery Study

This randomized clinical trial tests the effectiveness of omega-3 supplements in individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s. The study will help us advance our understanding of Alzheimer disease and propose methods to reduce cognitive decline in high-risk populations. We invite you or someone you know who is interested in participating to call us for more information. You may be eligible for this study if you are at least 60 years of age and not taking omega-3 supplements. The study compares placebo or 2 grams of DHA over two years. It involves measuring omega-3 blood levels, brain imaging, and memory tests in 5 visits during the two-year period.

To learn more or to participate, please contact us at (323) 489-4896 and ask for Laura Serna, Research Coordinator or Nicholas Choe, research assistant; or call Nadine Diaz, MSW (323) 442-7603. You can also email the study at fishoilforbrain@gmail.com or reach Dr. Hussein Yassine directly at hyassine@usc.edu .

The GENERATION Study of an Amyloid Vaccine and Anti-Amyloid Pill

The GENERATION program is two clinical trials that assess whether a vaccine called CAD106 and a pill called CNP520 (a beta-secretase inhibitor) can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. People may be eligible if they are age 60 to 75, do not have memory impairment, and have a certain risk gene called APOE4.

GENERATION 1 study participants have to have 2 copies of the APOE4 gene. (About 25% of people have 1 APOE4 and 1 APOE3 gene, and 3% have 2 APOE4 genes). Study participants would receive either several doses of the vaccine called CAD106 or an inactive placebo, and are followed for 60 to 96 months. They receive at least two PET scans and blood tests, and may volunteer for additional PET scans and cerebrospinal fluid collection.

The GENERATION 2 study is a randomized, double-blind study to test CNP520. For this study, people can have 1 or 2 copies of the APOE4 gene and need to show elevations on an amyloid PET brain scan or low amyloid levels in cerebrospinal fluid. This study also is 60 to 96 months long. Approximately 3500 participants will be randomized worldwide across studies.

People can email or call us at the numbers below or go to the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry and GeneMatch programs to provide information and enrollment, https://www.endalznow.org/genematch, or if you don’t know what type of APOE gene you have.

If you already know you have 2 copies of the APOE4 gene, then you can contact info@endALZnow.org or 1‐888‐STOP‐ALZ (1-888-786-7259), or call us at USC.

For further information, please contact us:
Nadine Diaz, MSW (ndiaz@med.usc.edu)
(323) 442-7600

ALLO Clinical Trial

We are conducting an early phase study to evaluate the safety and effect of an experimental drug, allopregnanolone (Allo), on memory. This is a 16-week study to compare Allo to placebo. The appointments will consist of cognitive assessments, brain scans, and study-related care.

To qualify one must be age 55 or older, and diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild Alzheimer disease. Participants will receive physical examinations, cognitive testing and MRI scans (brain imaging), and assistance with transportation to appointments.

For further information: http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02221622

Contact: USC Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC)
Attn: Gerson Hernandez (gersonhe@usc.edu) or (323) 865-ALLO (2556) or (323) 442-7600.

A4 Study for Healthy Older Adults

The Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer study (the A4 study) is for older individuals, ages 65 to 85, who may be at risk for memory loss due to Alzheimer disease (AD). We are investigating a new drug intervention that may reduce the impact of a protein known as “amyloid” or “beta amyloid” forming plaques in the brain. Scientists believe that accumulation of amyloid in the brain may play a key role in the eventual development of AD-related memory loss. The A4 anti-amyloid investigational drug targets amyloid build-up in the brain with the aim of slowing memory loss associated with the development of AD.

Am I eligible?

  • The A4 study will enroll 1,000 people between the ages of 65 through 85 with normal thinking and memory function but with evidence of amyloid plaque build-up in the brain.
  • Physicians and researchers will use PET amyloid imaging scans to determine whether a potential participant has evidence of elevated amyloid build-up.
  • Individuals with elevated amyloid on the PET scan will be eligible to become participants in the A4 clinical study.

For further information, please contact us:
Nadine Diaz, MSW (Nadine.Diaz@med.usc.edu)
(323) 442-7600

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