Current Research Studies

Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center Study

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The Northwestern Alzheimer’s Disease Center (NADC) was established with funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in 1996.  The primary goals of the center are to 1) provide state-of-the-art care to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, and 2) support clinical and basic research on memory and aging through the collection and storage of clinical data and brain tissue from research participants.   Clinical data and tissue are distributed to collaborators throughout Northwestern, as well as to other Alzheimer Disease Centers. The NADC is comprised of five Cores: Clinical, Administrative, Neuropathology, Data Management and Biostatistics, and Education. Over the past year, the Clinical and Data cores have worked closely with the Education and Neuropathology cores to recruit and enroll subjects, facilitate brain donations, support investigations of dementia and aging, and educate the public on effectively coping with these illnesses. 

Language in Primary Progressive Aphasia Study

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The PPA study will allow the CNADC a more in-depth look at specific language, neuropsychological, and neurological issues that arise as PPA disorder progresses. This three day-long research study investigates a variety of topics, primarily relating to language. The information obtained from all participants could lead to exciting developments in the knowledge and treatment of PPA. We are currently seeking persons with PPA to enroll as participants in the study. All participants will be compensated for their participation. If you are interested in becoming a participant or would like more information about this study, please contact: Danielle Barkema, or Phone: 312-908-9681

Northwestern University SuperAging™ Study

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We are currently conducting a longitudinal research study to determine what factors help keep older individuals highly functional and free of cognitive decline as they progress through the aging process. The study consists of three visits over the course of 3 years. Participants must be over 80. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Emily Rogalski, at 312-503-2716.

Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic AD (A4)

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It is well known that the biological changes in the brain that cause the dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease develop many years before memory loss becomes obvious. There are now methods for detecting these changes with the use of a test called an amyloid PET scan. A4 is a new “secondary prevention” trial aimed at treating older individuals at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia on the basis of having biomarker evidence of amyloid on PET scans.

Individuals aged 65 and older with normal cognitive test scores will be screened with PET amyloid imaging. Those with positive amyloid PET scans, who also meet other stringent study criteria, will be eligible to enroll in the trial. Enrolled subjects will be treated for three years with an anti-amyloid drug or with placebo.

Study of Nasal Insulin to Fight Forgetfulness (SNIFF)

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The SNIFF study will evaluate whether a type of insulin improves memory when administered through the nose as a nasal spray to adults with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or early Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study will also look at the effect of insulin on brain structure and function, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers and blood biomarkers.

Participants will be given a nasal spray device with either insulin or placebo. Participants will be randomly assigned to the treatment or the placebo group for 12 months followed by six months in which all participants will receive insulin. During the first 12 months neither study participants nor study staff will know who is receiving active treatment and who is receiving placebo (called a "double-blind" study). Individuals between 55 and 85 years of age with a diagnosis of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early AD can be considered.

Communication Bridge Speech Therapy Study

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The CNADC is conducting the Communication Bridge Speech Therapy study to better understand the effects of speech and language therapy on the communication abilities of people with aphasic dementia, including primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and Alzheimer's disease. Participants do not need to be located in the Chicago area. If you are interested in participating in this study or would like more information, please contact Hannah McKenna at or 312-503-2911.


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The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative - 2 (ADNI2) study is a newly funded NIA study that builds upon the previous ADNI1 and ADNI-GO studies. This study will continue to follow ADNI-GO and ADNI1 subjects longitudinally for an additional 5 years. In addition, ADNI2 will recruit new subjects from one of four groups of individuals: cognitively normal (CN), eMCI (early mild cognitive impairment), IMCI (late mild cognitive impairment), and mild-AD. This study aims to follow all subjects except for the mild-AD subjects (mild AD subject participation will end at 24 months) for up to 54 months by employing body fluid (blood, urine, CSF), neuropsychological testing, braing MRIs and PET scans at different time points throughout the subject's participation.  ADNI2 is a non randomized longitudinal study that offers no drug or investigational treatment.


Participants May Receive 

  • Participants receive annual evaluations of memory and other cognitive functions
  • We will provide participants with information on the latest treatments and preventions of memory loss
  • Participants will also receive our quarterly newsletter and other educational materials relevant to preserving memory health
  • Social work advice is available to inform participants about community resources
  • No cost for participation

Initial Research Visits Include

The enrollment visit takes approximately 2 hours. During this time:

  • Demographic information and medical history is gathered from participants and their family members
  • Paper and pencil tests are given to evaluate memory and thinking skills
  • A social worker meets with family members
  • A blood sample is taken to test for  genetic markers
  • Participants are informed of our brain donation program

Annual Return Visits Include

The annual return visits take approximately 90 minutes. During this time:

  • Information about the previous year is gathered from participants and their family members
  • Paper and pencil tests are given to evaluate memory and thinking skills

Other Clinical Trial Resources

ADEAR Clinical Trials Database - The Alzheimer's Disease Education & Referral Center (ADEAR) clinical trials database provides detailed information - background, eligibility criteria, site listings, and references - on Alzheimer's disease research studies sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, other NIH institutes, private organizations, and industry.