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Clinical Evaluation of Patients

The Geriatric Neurobehavioral Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital offers a multidisciplinary and individualized approach to the diagnosis of persons with memory disorders. Designed to provide outpatient diagnosis, the clinic is able to evaluate and treat individuals with a range of difficulties. Referrals are welcome from physicians, other health and human service professionals and community agencies. Individuals may also contact the clinic directly.

The Geriatric Neurobehavioral Clinic stresses the importance of a comprehensive evaluation. This enables the experienced staff to develop a plan for treatment and management. The multidisciplinary team is made up of a neurologist, psychiatrist, and social worker. Both long and short term follow up is available. If you or someone you know is interested in an evaluation, please call 617-726-5571.

Research Studies

Memory and Aging Study: This study is investigating the differences between normal aging, mild memory problems and the onset of memory disorders like Alzheimer's disease (AD). Subjects with mild memory problems are followed over a number of years with videotaped interviews, neuroimaging tests and cognitive tests.

Neuroimaging Studies: The GRU is involved in a wide range of neuroimaging studies, in addition to the neuroimaging collected for the Memory and Aging studies. These studies assess established and novel neuroimaging methods for their ability to track cognitive assessment, with a particular focus on early detection of AD or ongoing monitoring of disease progress. One study, conducted in collaboration with investigators at the Martinos Center is aimed at developing semi-automated procedures to measure "regions of interest" in the brain to enable quantitative assessment of cross-sectional and longitudinal structural neuroimaging data.

Genetics Studies: The GRU is involved in several studies of genetics of Alzheimer's disease, including helping to recruit and evaluate families for the Consortium on Alzheimer's Genetics based here at Mass General and for the National Institute on Aging Genetics Initiative late-onset AD study (LOAD). We are also involved in ongoing following up and genetic analysis of the National Institute of Mental Health Genetics Initiative sample, which was recruited in the 1990s at Mass General and two other AD centers.

Predictor Study: This is a longitudinal study based at Columbia University in which patients with Alzheimer's disease are evaluated every six months. The goal is to help identify factors that predict the course of AD.

Nurses Health Study Cognitive Assessment Study: In collaboration with the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, also based at Mass General, members of our unit are involved in a pilot project to provide comprehensive assessments of selected subjects from this 30-year follow-up study. This project is expected to provide a wealth of information regarding the role of a wide variety of risk factors in the development of AD.

Drug Studies: Clinical trials are often available to patients. These studies look at different medications to assess their efficacy as treatments for cognitive and behavioral problems in AD.

Lens Study: This study is evaluating the accuracy of a novel diagnostic procedure involving collecting images of the lens of the eye using a special camera. The goal is to develop early detection methods for AD.


Deborah Blacker, MD, ScD
Unit Director
Publications by Dr. Blacker

William Falk, M.D., Director, Geriatric Neurobehavioral Clinic
Reisa Sperling, M.D., MS, Neuroimaging Research*
Bradford Dickerson, M.D., Neuroimaging Research*
Julianna Bates, Ph.D., Neuroimaging Research*
Maura Copeland, M.D., Memory and Aging Study
Olivia Okereke, M.D., M.S., Memory and Aging Study
Hyemee Han, Ph.D., Memory and Aging Study
Deborah Zaitchik-Samet, Ph.D., Cognitive Science Research

Please also see Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program

Contact Information

Mass General Hospital East
149 13th Street, Suite 2691
Charlestown, MA 02129-2000
Phone: 617/726-5571; Fax: 617/726-5760
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Gerontology Research Unit