For Patients: Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Dr. Jeffrey Kaye talking to a colleague in front of two computer screens displaying brain imaging results
Dr. Jeffrey Kaye (left), director of the Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, has devoted his career to understanding aging, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

OHSU’s Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center has been a research leader since 1990. The Layton Center:

  • Includes dozens of scientists seeking new ways to understand aging and treat dementia.
  • Has produced breakthroughs that help doctors predict thinking and memory problems.
  • Supports research focused on early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Offers patients access to clinical trials of promising new treatments. 

Are you a researcher or health care professional? Learn more about Layton Center research, repositories and opportunities.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are vital to our research. They allow us to:

  • Better understand the aging process.
  • Understand how brain function changes in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Test ways to slow or prevent the disease’s progress.
  • Better understand other forms of dementia.

Learn more about:

Research excellence

At the OHSU’s Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, our program includes:

International expertise: Our experts collaborate with other top programs worldwide. We are the only center in Oregon — and among fewer than three dozen nationwide — funded by the National Institute on Aging. 

Innovative partnerships: We work with OHSU’s Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurological Disorders. ORCCAMIND is a leader in complementary and alternative medicine for dementia. 

Advanced technology: We helped start the Oregon Center for Aging and Technology. ORCATECH uses technology to assess the health and independence of aging Americans.

OHSU’s Dr. Jeffrey Kaye talks about research that uses in home technology to study aging.

Join ACTNOW

The ACTNOW research registry offers a way to support and take part in studies. Participants in ACTNOW (Alzheimer’s Comprehensive Treatment Network of Oregon and Washington) receive research news. They also get information about taking part in studies on aging and dementia. 

OHSU research programs

Our scientists are working to discover the causes of Alzheimer's disease, to find effective treatments and to seek a cure. We're also seeking ways to better care for caregivers. Promising areas of research include:

Dr. Jeffrey Kaye sitting across from research study participant Beverly Healy, talking and smiling
Dr. Kaye meets with study participant Beverly Healy.

In-home and wearable technology: Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, Layton Center director, and colleagues are using home sensors and wearable devices to build a one-of-a-kind database on how people age. The devices gather data on older adults’ sleep, mobility, weight and thinking abilities. Researchers can use it to look for health changes, for example, or assess how treatments are working. Learn more about the Collaborative Aging Research Using Technology study.

Caring for caregivers: OHSU has won a five-year grant from the National Institute on Aging to find ways to improve the health and well-being of Alzheimer's caregivers. Allison Lindaur, Ph.D., NP, will lead the first of two pilot projects.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s: We are doing clinical trials to see how substances called biomarkers may identify Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages. These biomarkers are found in blood and in the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain. Based on studies by Dr. Joseph Quinn, this research is important because treatment is most effective when Alzheimer’s is diagnosed early. 

Three women in hats and gloves outdoors, holding a notebook and smart device
Participants in the SHARP study use a notebook and smart tablet to spark discussion and memories.
Headshot of Raina Croff
Raina Croff, Ph.D.

Walking and remembering: The African American participants in this unique clinical trial gather in North and Northeast Portland to walk and reminisce about their neighborhood. The study aims to improve community well-being and cognitive health among older African Americans. As a group, African Americans have about twice the risk of Alzheimer’s as white people. Raina Croff, Ph.D., oversees the study, Sharing History through Active Reminiscence and Photo-Imagery, or SHARP

Predicting memory loss: Dr. Lisa Silbert, in work at OHSU’s Neuroimaging Lab, found areas in the brain where low blood flow causes damage called white matter lesions. These lesions seem to predict difficulty with memory. Her team’s research could lead to new dementia treatments.
 

Gene Gilmer, talking while seated at a desk. He is facing a screen that is displaying someone listening on the other end.
Gene Gilmer, 90, takes part in a video chat as part of OHSU’s I-CONECT study.

Fighting isolation: People who are often alone have a higher risk of thinking and memory problems, including Alzheimer's. Hiroko Dodge, Ph.D., and her research team are studying whether thinking and memory improve through regular video chats. Learn more about the I-CONECT Study.

Genetics and environment: Doris E. Kretzschmar, Ph.D., uses the common fruit fly to study how genetic changes lead to Alzheimer’s. Her lab also looks at how lifestyle changes such as disrupted sleep affect the disease.

Fish oil and dementia: High blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes affect how blood flows to our brains. These changes can increase the risk of dementia. Dr. Lynne Shinto, N.D., M.P.H., studies whether fish oil commonly sold as a dietary supplement can improve blood flow and lower dementia risk.
 

Allison Lindauer seated at a desk, wearing a headset, speaking with someone over video chat
Allison Lindauer, Ph.D., NP, studies the use of video chats in patient care.

Telehealth: Allison Lindauer, Ph.D., NP, studies dementia caregiving and telehealth (health care delivered by phone or video chat). Her team found that virtual visits increase access to care for patients, and reduce the burden on family members. The team also uses video conferences to educate providers. The Dementia 360 project, using OHSU’s ECHO Network, improves provider confidence in diagnosing and treating dementia.

Monitoring financial behavior: Loss of ability to manage finances can be a warning sign for Alzheimer’s disease. The Layton Center’s Kathy Wild, Ph.D., is using online technology to monitor financial transactions in real time. Results could show whether finance errors can predict a decline in memory and thinking ability.

Publications

In the last three decades, our team has published more than 800 articles in top scientific journals. Recent articles include:

Find more of our published work on dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other topics.
 

For patients

  • Referral: To become a patient, please ask your doctor for a referral. 
  • Questions: For questions about arranging a referral or to make a follow-up appointment, call 503-494-7772.
  • Nurse line: To talk with a nurse about questions or concerns, call 503-494-7615.

Location

Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Center for Health & Healing Building 1, eighth floor
3303 S.W. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions

Refer a patient

Life as a study subject

Ed Parker wearing a cap with electrodes affixed to it on his head

Meet Ed Parker, who talks about what it’s like to take part in several OHSU brain and aging studies —at the same time.

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