Research in Alzheimer Disease and Dementia: Jessica Zwerling, MD, MS


The director of Montefiore Hudson Valley Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease, associate professor of neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, discussed recent developments in Alzheimer disease research, including FDA approval of aducanumab, as well as the importance of engaging community-based organizations to improve patient care.

“Talking about aducanumab, or any monoclonal antibody or disease-modifying therapy, it is again, another chance for education, [especially] in patients like ours that we feel rich in treating.”

Ongoing research in Alzheimer disease (AD) and dementia remains a topic of discussion, particularly with the controversial approval of aducanumab, Biogen’s disease-modifying, anti-amyloid agent, in June. Jessica Zwerling, MD, MS, spoke with NeurologyLive about upcoming research efforts and the continued need to collect reliable data, establish an age-friendly institute, and generate patient-centered outcomes. 

Approval of aducanumab, as well as discussions of other disease-modifying therapies, present opportunities for patient education, according to Zwerling. Patients can be informed about drug treatment trials, as well as the parameters and unique benefits participation can have. Considering the caregivers’ health is also important, Zwerling said, as caregivers of those with dementia account for a separate, at-risk population. 

Further emphasis was put on engaging community-based organizations to deliver comprehensive care that is both culturally fair and relevant when treating older adults. Zwerling also spoke on the positive aspect of being back in person and seeing patients and caregivers face-to-face, following primary use of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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