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 condition 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, and blood tests. A test of cerebral spinal fluid is optional.

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

Please call Dr. Lina D’Orazio, Ph.D. (323) 442-7680, Maria Hernandez (323) 442-6845, or Nadine Diaz, MSW (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.

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 (ndiaz@usc.edu)
(323) 442-7600

Click to view our PDF brochure.

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

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 (ndiaz@usc.edu)
(323) 442-7600

The EMERGE Study of Aducanumab for Early Alzheimer Disease

This clinical trial evaluates the safety and efficacy of an investigational medication, aducanumab, to determine whether it slows symptoms of Alzheimer disease such as memory or thinking problems. Aducanumab is an antibody medication that attaches to and removes the amyloid fibers that make up the amyloid plaques in the brain which are a part of Alzheimer disease. It is believed that removing these fibers will reduce the plaques and improve or slow down the symptoms.

Eligible participants must be between 50 and 85 years old, and experiencing problems with memory or thinking. Some may have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild Alzheimer disease previously. Participation involves visits to USC usually once per month to receive intravenous infusions of aducanumab or an inactive infusion over the course of two years. The trial is being conducted at approximately 150 sites in more than 20 countries in North America, Europe and Asia.

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

The CREAD Study of Crenezumab for Early Alzheimer Disease

The CREAD study is designed to see if an experimental medication called crenezumab can slow the progression of early to mild Alzheimer disease. Crenezumab is an antibody that binds to the amyloid in the brain. Amyloid is thought to contribute to Alzheimer disease and the goal of this study is to reduce the amount of amyloid in the brain.

Participants may be able to take part if they are 50-85 years old, have mild Alzheimer disease, or memory problems that may be the early symptoms of Alzheimer disease. Half of the participants enrolled in the study will receive the investigational study medication. The other half will receive a placebo, which contains no active ingredient. The study medications will be given as an intravenous infusion every 4 weeks over a period of 2 years. After this time, there may be an open-label extension study where all participants receive the investigational study medication.

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

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