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Memory and Aging Program

Memory and Aging Home   Clinical Trials    Prevention Registry     News & Events    Volunteer

A Worldwide Leader in Alzheimer’s Disease Research

The Butler Hospital Memory & Aging Program (MAP) is a worldwide leader in Alzheimer’s disease research. An affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, MAP has a 20+ year history of excellence in clinical care, training, and cutting-edge research aimed at developing new and better ways to detect, treat, and someday even prevent Alzheimer’s. The program works hand in hand with health care providers, community groups, other research organizations, and everyday people with normal memory or some degree of memory loss who are willing to participate in the research needed to bring an end to Alzheimer’s disease. 

On April 7, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized their decision to limit coverage for monoclonal antibodies, such as Aduhelm (aducanumab), to only those who are enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. Click here to learn more about the decision to suspend the administration of Aduhelm at Butler Hospital.

Contact Information:

Memory and Aging Program
345 Blackstone Boulevard
1st Floor Weld Building
Providence, RI 02906
P: (401) 455-6402
F: (401) 455-6405
E: memory@butler.org

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Explore Our Clinical Trials

Our research is focused on three main areas: Alzheimer's prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Opportunities to participate and contribute to our research include clinical trials of investigational medications as well as research studies not related to medication. 

Learn More About Clinical Trials
Join The Alzheimer's Prevention Registry

The Alzheimer's Prevention Registry matches individuals interested in participating in research, with studies for which they may qualify. You can join the registry by completing a secure and confidential online form.

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CADASIL Treatment and Research

We offer compassionate care for the evaluation and treatment of CADASIL, a genetic brain disease that can lead to stroke, other brain injuries, and dementia. 

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News and Events

Get the latest news about developments in the fight against Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders, find resources for patients and caregivers, and meet local Rhode Island Alzheimer’s heroes and pioneers. Click Here to read more.

Dr. Meghan Riddle, Associate Director of Butler Hospital's MAP, excels in brain science education, recently winning Brow...
FDA approves donanemab for early Alzheimer's treatment, marking a crucial step for treatment. Dr. Stephen Salloway highl...
FDA Advisory Committee endorses donanemab for early Alzheimer's, marking a crucial step for treatment. Dr. Stephen Sallo...

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  • Program Accomplishments
  • 2020 Initiatives
  • Major Program Milestones

Program Accomplishments

Since 1997, the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital has played a major role in advancing the study and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and dementia. MAP is an inaugural member of the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP)  and a founding member of one of the most prominent AD nonprofit networks, the  Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network (DIAN).

Our program has conducted dozens of clinical trials and research studies since its inception. Each of them has provided another small step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s through deeper insights and understanding into how the disease develops, how it can be treated and how we can achieve better methods for earlier diagnosis. Today, those many small steps are building to what we hope will be a giant leap in Alzheimer’s treatment in the next several years. 

Memory and Aging Program In the News

Thus far in 2020 we have: 

  • Launched the DigiCog AD Study to test the use of digital cognitive testing through smartphone technology. The study is being conducted by MAP Research Scientist Louisa Thompson, Ph.D. through a Clinician Scientist Fellowship Grant Award. The study is currently enrolling participants.

  • Become one of five sites in the U.S. to conduct the national POINTER Study, aimed at testing whether healthy lifestyle interventions can protect cognitive abilities in older adults who are at increased risk for cognitive decline in the future. The study is currently enrolling participants.

  • Become one of the first U.S. sites to launch the AHEAD Study, a Phase III, international, multicenter clinical trial with 100 study sites in the US, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Europe. It will study the effectiveness of BAN-2401, an investigational drug that selectively binds to, neutralizes and eliminates the amyloid beta proteins in the brain that are thought to be a causative factor for AD. The study is currently enrolling participants.

Our most recent program accomplishments and milestones include:


  • The world’s first A4 Alzheimer’s prevention study participant completed the A4 study at the Memory and Aging Program. The study is testing whether a new investigational treatment, called an anti-amyloid antibody, can slow memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The findings of a study conducted in part at MAP and co-authored by MAP Director Dr. Stephen Salloway showed that a blood test could be used to detect Alzheimer’s 16 years before symptoms appear. The study was conducted through the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network (DIAN), of which MAP is a founding member.
  • The results of a landmark trial , the IDEAS Study, conducted in part at MAP showed that amyloid PET scan imaging improves the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s
  • Aducanumab, a drug studied at MAP that may become the first drug to remove amyloid plaque from the brain and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, was submitted to the FDA for approval
  • MAP launched the ARIAS study to test the use of simple and painless retinal scanning as a tool for diagnosing Alzheimer’s. The test could help clinician’s detect Alzheimer’s two decades or more before patients develop life-altering symptoms. The study is currently enrolling participants.


  • Joined with 14 other Alzheimer’s disease research centers around the U.S. to establish an early-onset AD clinical trial network in the U.S. in order to study Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease through the LEADS Study, or the Longitudinal Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease Study
  • Participated in the world’s first pivotal trial to use PET scanning to detect tau proteins in the brain, which will hopefully lead to FDA approval for this new and effective means of diagnosing Alzheimer’s 

  • Began using novel methods of genotyping with the Spartan Cube  
  • Began using the DCT Clock, a more advanced and sensitive method of assessing cognitive functioning

  • MAP Director Dr. Stephen Salloway was named the Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, an endowed professorship and one of the highest honors in academia. Dr. Salloway was also elected to the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame for his contributions to medical research that is bettering the lives of Rhode Islanders and others around the globe, a distinction he now shares with the likes of Roger Williams, Patrick Kennedy and Dean Aronson, the founder of Brown Medical School.  


Memory Disorder FAQs

Below you will find a series of commonly asked questions on memory disorders, diagnosis and treatment of memory disorders, living with Alzheimer's and information on memory and aging research. Click on the topic below for the full list of questions and answers.
General Questions
What are memory disorders?

Memory disorders are brain-based conditions that affect retention and recollection of memories. Everyone experiences some lapse of memory periodically, and some decline in memory is normal as we age. However, with memory disorders, people have more significant memory loss that may interfere with their work, social activities, personality, behavior, and ability to perform daily tasks. Impairments in memory may be due to many conditions, Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia caused by small strokes in the brain, diabetes or high blood pressure, normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), or even depression.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a specific type of dementia and the most common form. It is a progressive, degenerative disease that causes slow decline of nerve cells in the brain. Individuals with AD experience progressive and irreversible loss in thinking abilities, including language and memory. Changes are also witnessed in mood, personality, sleep-wake cycles, and behavior. In AD, nerve cells involved in learning and short-term memory are affected early which is the reason memory loss is one of the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

What is dementia?

Many different conditions and diseases cause dementia. The term "dementia" is used loosely to describe severe memory loss and impairment in other thinking (or "cognitive") abilities that interfere with the individual's daily life and social interactions.

What is the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia?

Dementia refers to a category of disorders that involve memory loss while Alzheimer's disease is a specific disease. Alzheimer's disease causes dementia, however, several other diseases or conditions, such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, head injury, and vitamin deficiency can also cause dementia.

What are the stages of Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer's disease has three stages: early (mild), middle (moderate), and late (severe). A person in the early stage of Alzheimer’s may:

  • Find it hard to Remember things.
  • Be repetitive.
  • Get lost in familiar places.
  • Lose things or put them in odd places.
  • Have trouble handling money and paying bills.
  • Take longer than normal to finish daily tasks.

Importantly, the first changes present within the brain may begin 20 or more years before diagnosis.

Those in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s exhibit:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion.
  • Difficulty recognizing family and friends.
  • Difficulty learning new things and coping with new situations.
  • Trouble completing tasks with multiple steps.
  • Impulsive behavior.
  • Forgetting the names of common items.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Delusions, or paranoia.
  • Wandering

The mild to moderate stage may last between 2 and 10 years.

In the late stage, people:

  • Lose the ability to communicate.
  • May sleep more.
  • Lose weight.
  • Have trouble swallowing.
  • May be incontinent.

Severe Alzheimer’s may last between 1 and 5 years.

What is vascular dementia?

While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, the second most common type of dementia is vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is associated with problems in the circulation of blood to the brain (cerebrovascular disease). Risk factors for this type of dementia include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • High cholesterol.
  • History of transient ischemic attacks (TIA).
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities.
  • Evidence of disease in arteries elsewhere in the body.
What is mild cognitive impairment?

An individual with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is able to take care of themselves and go about their normal daily activities, but they have subtle problems with memory and thinking. Some signs of MCI are losing things often, forgetting appointments, and having trouble finding the right words to say. MCI can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease—but not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s.

How can one recognize Alzheimer's disease from normal memory loss or ordinary forgetfulness?

Everyone experiences memory lapses and forgetfulness from time to time and some decline in memory ability is a normal part of aging. For example, as an individual approaches middle age, his or her ability to recall newly learned information, such as recalling people’s names or specific words, may begin to slip. These memory problems do not get worse over short periods of time and do not interfere much with the ability to do daily activities. People may compensate for these normal memory changes by repeatedly going over things to be remembered, linking them in their mind with something already well known, or keeping lists of things to do. In contrast, the memory loss in Alzheimer's disease is much greater than expected for age. The memory lapses are more frequent and severe and interfere with the ability to manage daily activities.

Are there warning signs for Alzheimer's disease?

What is typically the first sign?

  • Memory Loss That Affects Day-to-Day Function.
  • It is normal to occasionally forget appointments or phone numbers. However, a person with Alzheimer's disease may forget things more often and not remember them later. The disease prevents the person from making new memories. Memories of things from long ago often remain after the ability to learn new information is lost.
  • Difficulty Performing Familiar Task.
  • Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may forget what they are doing. For example, one may forget to serve the vegetables during dinner, but will remember to serve them at the end of the meal. A person with Alzheimer's disease may be unable to prepare any part of a meal or forget they ate it.
  • Problems With Language.
  • Everyone has trouble finding the right words sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer's disease may forget simple words or substitute the wrong words, making his or her sentences difficult to understand. The conversation of a person with Alzheimer's disease may wander excessively.
  • Disorientation of Time and Place.
  • It is normal to forget the day of the week or your destination-for a moment. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can have persistent problems remembering the date, day of the week, or time. They may have more trouble finding their way while driving and may occasionally get lost.
  • Poor or Decreased Judgment.
  • People may sometimes put off going to the doctor if they have an infection but eventually will seek medical attention. A person with Alzheimer's disease may not recognize the need for a doctor at all. Another example of poor judgment is that a person with Alzheimer's disease may dress inappropriately, wearing heavy clothing on a hot day, or two shirts. People with Alzheimer's disease may become distracted and unsafe while doing routine activities such as cooking or driving.
  • Problems with Abstract Thinking.
  • Trouble balancing a checkbook may be an early warning of a more serious problem.
  • Misplacing Things.
  • We all misplace things from time to time. Frequently misplacing items may indicate an underlying memory disorder. Later in the illness, a person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer or a watch in the sugar bowl and forget that they put them there. They may also accuse others of stealing when they are unable to find things they need.
  • Changes in Mood or Behavior.
  • Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Depression may be the first sign of an underlying memory disorder in an older person. Someone with Alzheimer's disease can exhibit a wide range of mood or behavioral changes. For example, they may display rapid mood swings - from calm to tears to anger - for no apparent reason, or become abnormally irritable, depressed, or agitated. They may have changes in their eating, sleeping, and hygiene and may engage in repetitive purposeless behaviors such as rummaging through closets and drawers.
  • Changes in Personality.
  • People's personalities can change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can change dramatically, becoming, suspicious or withdrawn. Changes may also include apathy or indifference, fearfulness or anxiety, or acting inappropriately.
  • Loss of Initiative.
  • It is normal to lose interest and motivation in housework, business activities, or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. A person with Alzheimer's disease may become very passive and require cues and prompting to become involved in daily activities. The symptoms of apathy are not distressing to the patient but can be very disturbing for the caregiver and family.
Diagnosis and Treatment
How is Alzheimer's disease diagnosed?

Testing brain tissue for plaques and tangles is the only definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. This is done during a brain autopsy after someone dies. While a person is still living, doctors are only able to make a diagnosis of “possible” or “probable” Alzheimer’s disease and this requires a full physical and neurological examination to rule out other causes of dementia. Screenings include blood tests to measure thyroid function and vitamin B12 levels, an MRI or CT scan of the brain to exclude other causes of dementia such as strokes, tumors, or hydrocephalus (excessive fluid build-up in the brain), and cognitive testing for memory, language, and other cognitive difficulties.

What treatments are there for Alzheimer's disease?

There is no medical treatment currently available to cure or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease. However, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several drugs that may temporarily slow cognitive changes. The first class is acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which are indicated for mild to severe Alzheimer’s disease. These are donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), galantamine (Reminyl®), and tacrine (Cognex®). The second class is NMDA antagonists, which is indicated for moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. There is only one drug approved in this class: memantine (Namenda®). Many other promising drugs are being developed and tested - some of which may be available within the next few years. Medication and non-drug therapies are also available to help with behavior changes associated with Alzheimer's disease, such as depression, sleeplessness, and agitation.

Are there side-effects from the medication prescribed for Alzheimer's disease?

Generally, donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), and galantamine (Reminyl®) are well tolerated. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and loose stools might occur but are usually transient. It is recommended to take Reminyl® and Exelon®with a full meal. Because of side effects associated with tacrine, including possible liver damage, it is very rarely prescribed. There is no evidence or reason to believe that combining the drugs would be any more beneficial than taking either one alone, and it is likely that combining the drugs would result in greater side effects.

What vitamins and herbal supplements are protective against Alzheimer's disease?

Research into the production of free radicals in the brain in Alzheimer's disease have suggested that antioxidants, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and Ginko Bilbao may be useful in treating or slowing the progression of the disease. However, more research needs to be done in this area before the effectiveness or lack thereof of these supplements can be verified.

  • Vitamin E.
  • An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that Vitamin E can slow the disease course in patients with moderate-severe Alzheimer's disease. An article published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that high levels of dietary vitamin E might be protective against the development of Alzheimer's disease. This study found a benefit when patients ate vitamin E in the form of natural foods, but found no benefit when it was taken as a vitamin supplement. More studies need to be done to understand the protective role that this vitamin may play. Vitamin E supplements are frequently prescribed and have become a part of a standard treatment regimen for most people with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Vitamin C.
  • Vitamin C, like Vitamin E, plays an antioxidant role by neutralizing free radicals and preventing cell death. More studies need to be done to investigate whether Vitamin C can limit Alzheimer's disease progression.
  • Ibuprofen and other Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS).
  • There is evidence that NSAIDS may play a preventative role in the development of AD but have no benefit on disease course in people diagnosed with AD, more research is needed. The role of NSAIDS in Alzheimer's disease is an active area in AD research and its benefits, if any, are unclear.
  • Gingko biloba.
  • Gingko biloba has antioxidant and vasodilating properties. Several clinical trials have suggested that gingko is effective in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). There have been some contraindications of gingko when using anticoagulants, so you should speak with your physician before starting on this, or any supplement. A recent study in Journal of the American Medical Association showed no benefit for gingko in patients with AD and we do not currently recommend it.
Living With Alzheimer's
Are people with Alzheimer's disease aware of their symptoms?

Patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease may have awareness of their memory and other deficits. However, awareness of memory and other problems generally decreases as the disease progresses.

Can people with Alzheimer's disease live alone?

Approximately 25 percent of Americans with Alzheimer's disease live alone. However, as the condition progresses, patients may need more help and it is especially important for family and friends to provide supervision for tasks that the person with AD can no longer do for themselves. Family members, friends, and community services can help. Information is available on home care services, meals, transportation, and day care from the Alzheimer's Association or a primary care physician. Arrangements can be made for direct deposit of checks such as retirement pensions and/or Social Security benefits. Home-delivered meals are available. At some point people with AD will need to live in a supervised setting either with family, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home.

If an individual has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, should they continue to drive?

Whether or not a person with Alzheimer's disease can continue to drive is dependent on the progression of the disease and their remaining functional abilities. Individuals who still drive should be encouraged to limit their driving to short distances in areas that are familiar to them. Caregivers should try to gauge whether they feel that the person is driving safely. After evaluation in the Memory Clinic, our staff can advise patients and their families regarding driving safety, and refer patients for driving safety evaluations if indicated.

Should a person tell friends and family that they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease?

People with Alzheimer's disease will need support and assistance from others as they experience changes brought on by the disease. While telling friends and family may cause some emotional stress, it is important to tell people early on so that an effective and caring support network of family and friends can be established.

Do all people with Alzheimer's disease wander? Do all get irritable?

Behavior problems are common in AD, especially as the disease progresses. Depression and irritability may occur early. Suspiciousness is common. Apathy is the most common behavioral symptom. Restlessness, wandering, agitation, impulsiveness, delusions, and hallucinations may occur later. These behavioral symptoms can be very distressing to caregivers and family members. It is important to have the support of family and friends. Support groups may help. Medications may help. Your family doctor may refer you to a geriatric psychiatrist who specializes in managing behavioral problems in dementia.

Where can I receive instruction or help in dealing with Alzheimer's disease?

You can contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association for information and support in areas ranging from day-to-day living to cutting edge medical research. The address is as follows:  

Alzheimer's Association Rhode Island Chapter
245 Waterman Street, Suite 306
Providence, RI 02906
(800) 244-1428
(401) 421-0008

Is Alzheimer's disease hereditary? Does having a parent who has the disease increase my chances of developing it? If so, are there any tests that clarify my risk?

The average worldwide lifetime risk of developing any type of Alzheimer’s disease is about 5 percent by age 65, 10 to 15 percent by age 75, and 20 to 40 percent by age 85. Individuals who have a parent with Alzheimer’s disease have about twice the average risk of getting the disease, that is, among 65-year-olds with an affected parent, about 10 percent will develop Alzheimer’s disease.  

Having a brother or sister with Alzheimer’s disease also doubles the risk. The likelihood of developing the disease continues to increase as the number of affected relatives increases, and having more than one affected sibling appears to cause the greatest increase in risk. This increased risk occurs because children and parents may share certain genes, the basic units of heredity that provide a blueprint for many biological and behavioral characteristics. The influence of a gene may be large or small. Tests are available that can determine whether a person carries Alzheimer’s disease genes. It is important to understand, however, that even people with Alzheimer’s disease genes may not develop the disease.  

In addition, an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis approaches 90 percent accuracy without genetic testing. Therefore, genetic testing is usually not essential, but is recommended in those patients with early onset of symptoms (early onset AD is associated with greater likelihood of a genetic link) and a positive family history. Most experts regard genetic testing as an acceptable part of clinical trials as long as participants give informed consent and understand the procedure’s purpose and limitations thoroughly. Most experts recommend that the complex analysis involved in characterizing such one-of-a-kind gene mutations be carried out at a major academic center and that individuals receive genetic counseling as part of the testing process. Genetic counselors help people explore emotional and legal implications as well as scientific and technical issues before testing proceeds; after testing is completed, they explain and interpret results and help people accept the outcome.

Research Questions
Why is early diagnoses of Alzheimer's Disease important?

An early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease helps families to plan for the future and make legal and financial arrangement while allowing the person with Alzheimer’s to take part in the decision-making process. Early diagnosis can also allow for the person to begin medications that can help slow the disease progress. Importantly, early diagnosis can allow the person to take part in clinical research trials that could change the future of the disease.

What is clinical research and why is it an important part of Alzheimer's disease research?

Clinical research includes studies (observing and gathering data from large groups of people) and trials (testing a medicine, therapy, or intervention in a group of people). Clinical trials are important as they allow researchers and doctors to determine if a medication or treatment is successful in slowing or preventing the disease progression. Our clinic has many opportunities for clinical research, click here to see our current trials.

What is beta-amyloid?

Beta-amyloid is a sticky protein that gradually builds up, forming plaques within the brain of those with Alzheimer’s disease. The plaques accumulate between nerve cells in the brain, blocking their communication.

What is tau?

Tau is a protein that, under normal conditions, allows vital cell transport to occur within the brain. In Alzheimer’s Disease, tau collapses into twisted strands which stops the cell from obtaining essential supplies and nutrients. Cells with these tau tangles eventually die.

What are plaques and tangles?

Plaques are abnormal clusters of beta-amyloid protein. Tangles are twisted strands of tau protein. Plaques and tangles accumulate in the brain of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Specific types of recently developed PET scans are able to detect this accumulation. Previously, all plaque and tangle quantification was done through autopsy.

What are PET scans?

Positron emission tomography (PET) uses small amounts of radioactive material, called radiotracers, and a specialized camera and computer to “see” your organs and tissues. In Alzheimer’s research, PET scans are used to detect beta-amyloid and tau accumulation, as well as healthy and diseased tissue through use of a variety of radiotracers. The PET scan procedure begins with the technician placing an IV in your hand or arm and injecting the radiotracer. A period of time will pass as your brain absorbs the radiotracer. After the radiotracer is absorbed, you will enter the PET scanner, a large round machine similar to an MRI machine. The PET scanner will use a specialized camera to detect the radiotracer within your brain. You will not feel anything as this process occurs.

What is an MRI?

An MRI is a test that uses a large magnetic field and radio wave energy to recreate images of structures within the body. In Alzheimer’s research, MRIs are often used to image the brain as a whole, as well as specific structures within the brain. MRI images can tell doctors if brain tissue volume is shrinking, whether large or small strokes have occurred, and whether specific brain areas are displaying abnormalities.

What is a lumbar puncture?

A lumbar puncture is a procedure in which a doctor places a small needle between the vertebra in the back and into the spinal canal. Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), the liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, is collected and analyzed for a variety of components. In Alzheimer’s research, the CSF is often analyzed for beta-amyloid and tau proteins, as well as levels of investigational medications (if the person is enrolled in a research trial).

Research trials involve “cognitive testing.” What is this?

Cognitive testing refers a variety of assessments designed to measure a persons memory and thinking abilities. In Alzheimer’s research, cognitive testing often entails surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and sessions with a trained cognitive rater or doctor.

Can I stop participating in a study after I sign up?

Of course. Before beginning any research trial you will be told of each and every step that the study will entail. All of your questions will be answered and should you feel comfortable continuing in the trial, you will sign a consent form. At any point, you are free to withdraw your consent and stop participating in the study.

Who will know I am in a research trial?

All the procedures done for a research trial are done independent of your insurance or primary care doctor. The only people that will know you are in a trial are the people at the clinic who are involved in the trial and the people that you decide to tell. We work hard to make sure your information is kept confidential.

Can I sign up for any research trial I want?

No, there are strict criteria that must be met to enroll in a research trial. Our clinic doctors will determine which studies they believe you may be a good candidate for and, after signing consent, you will enter into a screening period. If you meet all criteria during the screening period, you will be enrolled in the trial. If you do not meet the necessary criteria for a study, there may be others that you will qualify for. You can only be enrolled in one clinical trial at a time.

What is a placebo?

A placebo is an inactive substance designed to look like a medication. Drug trials are often ‘placebo-controlled’ meaning that some of the participants in the trial are not receiving the drug being tested, but are instead receiving a substance made only to look like the medication. Often a placebo is called a sugar pill because it does not contain any active medicines. Placebo groups serve as control groups in research. Results are compared between the placebo group and the active medication group to determine if the medicine is having an effect.

Meet the Team

Edward Huey, MD

Professor, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Director, Memory and Aging Program

Dr. Huey is a geriatric psychiatrist, board certified in Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurology. He attended medical school and completed his residency in adult psychiatry at Stanford University Medical Center. He completed fellowships at the NIH intramural program in Geriatric Psychiatry (at NIMH) and Behavioral Neurology (at NINDS). He was a faculty member at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology from 2010 to 2023 and received tenure in 2020. His main clinical and research interest is Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. He was the Director of the Columbia Frontotemporal Dementia Center and the Medical Director of the Columbia Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence.

Stephen Salloway, MD, MS

Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry,
Alpert Medical School of Brown University,
Founding Director, Memory and Aging Program

Dr. Salloway received his medical degree from Stanford University Medical School. He completed residencies in neurology and psychiatry at Yale University Medical School. He is a Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University, the Founding Director of the Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program and Associate Director of the Brown Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research. He has authored over 400 journal articles, book chapters, and abstracts and edited three books on prevention and early detection of Alzheimer’s disease

Meghan Riddle, MD

Associate Director, Memory and Aging Program

Dr. Riddle is a geriatric psychiatrist who joined the Memory and Aging Program in 2021. She completed her residency and geriatric psychiatry fellowship training at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Riddle received her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center and completed the Executive Healthcare Leadership Program at the University of Kentucky. She serves as the Associate Director of the Memory and Aging Program and continues to see patients clinically with a focus on late-life mood disorders and neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia.


Paul F. Malloy, PhD

Neuropsychologist, Emeritus

Dr. Malloy is a leading expert on neuroimaging and cognitive testing in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, frontal lobe dysfunction, and behavior disorders in the elderly. He serves as a consultant with NIH committees and pharmaceutical companies on the implementation of clinical trials for memory and neurobehavioral disorders. Dr. Malloy retired from his full-time role in 2020, after more than 20 years of dedicated mentorship and leadership at the Memory and Aging Program, which he co-founded in the late 90’s.

Athene Lee, PhD

Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Clinical), Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Dr. Lee is a licensed neuropsychologist at the Memory and Aging Program. Her doctoral degree is in clinical psychology and neuropsychology from Suffolk University in Boston. She completed her residency and fellowship at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, with a specific focus in neuropsychology and neuroimaging. 

Louisa Thompson, PhD

Research scientist in the Memory and Aging Program; Instructor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Dr. Thompson is a licensed neuropsychologist and research scientist at the Memory and Aging program. She completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology, with an emphasis in neuropsychology, at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. 

Jessica Alber, PhD

Cognitive Neuroscientist, Butler Hospital Memory & Aging Program
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Dr. Alber completed her PhD in Human Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh in 2015 and her post-doctoral fellowship as part of the Clinical Psychology Training Consortium at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, where she is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and a cognitive neuroscientist at the Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program. 

Alyssa De Vito, PhD

Research neuropsychologist in the Memory and Aging Program

Assistant Professor (Research) of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Dr. De Vito is a research neuropsychologist at the Memory and Aging Program studying how digital tools can improve early detection of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. She completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology at Louisiana State University. 


William Menard, BA

Bill earned a BA in psychology from the University of New Hampshire. He joined the Memory and Aging Program team in 2014 as the research operations manager. He oversees the day to day functioning of the program and fosters a team approach to conducting research trials. 

Diane Monast, RN, MSN, CNS

Diane is a clinical nurse specialist with a background in psychiatric nursing who has been practicing for 39 years. She has extensive background in geriatrics, mental health nursing, and Alzheimer’s disease clinical care and research. Diane has been the Memory and Aging Program nurse coordinator for 19 years.

Brittany Dawson, MS, FNP-BC

Brittany is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She received her BS in Nursing from the University of Virginia and her MS-FNP from Georgetown University. She worked as a maternity nurse at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital from 2010 to 2015 while pursuing her degree. 

Samuel Slezak

Sam has a Master of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Rhode Island and started with the Memory and Aging Program in 2017. He’s held various roles assisting with and coordinating different research studies. Most recently he served as the Project Manager for the U.S. POINTER study and is now working as the Assistant Manager of the MAP. Outside of work Sam likes traveling, eating, kayaking, hiking, and having fun.

Clinical Providers

Melanie Faust, APRN, FNP-C

Melanie is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She received her undergraduate degree in biology and social science from Providence College, and her registered nurse and nurse practitioner degrees from University of Massachusetts Medical School. She previously worked in neurology and neuropsychology research in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, and childhood oncology.

Lyndsay Dematteo, MSG, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP-C

Lyndsay DeMatteo is a board-certified adult/gero nurse practitioner. She received her BS in Neuroscience from Union College, her MS in Gerontology from the University of Southern California: Davis School of Gerontology, and her registered nurse certificate/MS in Nursing from Yale School of Nursing. Prior to joining the Memory & Aging Program, she completed an APRN Fellowship at Yale Medicine specializing in geriatric healthcare.

Andrea Nanos, MSN, AGNP-C

Andrea is a board-certified adult gerontology nurse practitioner. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from UMass Amherst and her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Boston College. She worked as a registered nurse at a skilled nursing facility and assisted living memory care unit while pursuing her graduate degree. Prior to joining the Memory and Aging Program, she worked as a nurse practitioner in internal medicine.

Dori Alger, BSW
Dori received her degree from Providence College. She spent the last 10 years as a social worker in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. She previously worked in a residential facility for people with both developmental disabilities and mental health issues.


Denise Jerue, RN, BSN

A 1985 graduate of Northeastern University, Denise has over 30 years of nursing experience in the areas of ICU, pediatrics, home health care, and adult mental health. Denise co-ordinates, manages and recruits Alzheimer’s patients in the clinical trials at the Memory and Aging Program, and is the nurse in charge of our infusion suite.

Cheryl Kechichian, RN

Cheryl has been with the Memory & Aging Program as a nurse coordinator since 2007. Previously, she worked as an RN in a variety of settings including hospitals, community centers, home care, and long term care. After diversifying her career and trying different nursing domains, she realized that working with adults and elders with memory issues was her calling. 

Lisa Williams, BSN

Lisa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1988 from the University of Rhode Island, Lisa has over 28 years nursing experience in the areas of oncology, infusion therapies, and home care; specializing in home infusion therapies. Prior to joining the memory and aging program, Lisa worked as a nurse manager for the Visiting Nurse Services of Rhode Island and was the general manager and nurse manager for Optioncare for 15 years. She has over 25 years of experience in IV insertion and medication administration.

Vanessa Rua, RN, BSN

Vanessa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rhode Island College. Prior to joining the Memory and Aging Program, Vanessa worked as a registered nurse in the acute medical-psychiatric unit at Rhode Island Hospital. She joined the Memory and Aging Program as a research nurse coordinator in November 2017. 


Courtney Bodge, PhD

Dr. Bodge is a developmental neuroscientist and research project manager with the Memory and Aging Program. She coordinates multiple studies on Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Disease (DIAD), a rare form of Alzheimer’s that causes impairment typically between 30 and 50 years old and is passed via a mutated gene within families. The DIAD families are a dedicated group of participants and Courtney feels especially privileged to be fighting Alzheimer’s with them.

Bryanne Peets, BS

Bryanne received her Bachelor's degree in neuroscience from Stonehill College, where she first became interested in memory research while volunteering at the Boston VA Healthcare System. After graduating, she worked as a research assistant with a focus on administering neuropsychological assessments to stroke and dementia patients. 

Tyler Rosenholm, BA

Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a concentration in Health Care Administration from the University of Massachusetts. Before joining the Memory and Aging Program, he spent ten years as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant working in skilled nursing facilities.

Sophia Tarro, BA

Sophia graduated from College of the Holy Cross in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry. She assists with coordinating various clinical trials at MAP including observational, lifestyle intervention, and pharmaceutical studies. Additionally, she works as cognitive rater on many of these trials. 

Eliza Rego, BA

Eliza graduated from Harvard University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology with an interest in public health and public policy. At the Memory and Aging Program, she assists with coordinating clinical trials for new pharmaceutical drugs and lifestyle interventions.

Priscilla Villa, MS

Priscilla received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Biology and Neuroscience at Salve Regina University in 2013. She completed her MS in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience at the University of Rhode Island where she studied the effects of traumatic brain injury on motor control. Priscilla currently assists with the coordination of clinical trials and observational studies investigating longitudinal changes in individuals at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Molly Lawrence, BS

Molly graduated from Northeastern with a BS in sociology in 2013. At MAP, Molly is excited to be working as a Senior Research Assistant on research focused on digital screening tools in the primary care setting, as well as a clinical trial repurposing an HIV medication. 

Hannah Joyce, ScB

Hannah Joyce is a recent honors graduate from Brown University with an ScB in Cognitive Neuroscience. Hannah works as a research assistant on industry sponsored clinical research studies aimed at better understanding Alzheimer’s Disease with the ultimate goal of finding a preventative treatment.

Megan Caruso, BS, BA

Megan graduated from Tulane University in 2021 with a BS in Neuroscience and a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in glassblowing. While in college, she interned with a clinical neuropsychologist administering cognitive assessments to patients with dementia in New Orleans, which sparked her interest in memory and aging. 

Sarah Bica, BA

Sarah graduated from Providence College in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minor in Neuroscience and Sociology. She currently assists with studies at the Memory and Aging Program focusing on pharmaceutical and lifestyle interventions.

Kelsey Adams, BS

Kelsey graduated with a BS in Medical Imaging from Rhode Island College and holds an AS in Occupational Therapy from Bristol Community College. Prior to joining the Memory and Aging Program, Kelsey worked with the geriatric population in various memory care settings and has received a Certified Dementia Practitioner certification. Kelsey currently assists with pharmaceutical and lifestyle intervention studies at MAP. 

Courtney Burton, PhD

Dr. Burton is a neuroimaging researcher who studies brain structure and function in clinical groups. She completed her PhD in Neuroscience in 2019, then worked as a researcher at the NIH until joining the Memory & Aging Program in 2023. Here, she analyzes neuroimaging data for various studies within the program.

Sarah Benjamin, MS

Sarah graduated with an MS in Neuroscience from the University of Hartford in 2022. Before joining the Memory and Aging Program, Sarah conducted behavioral intervention research studies at Boston University. She is now a cognitive rater at MAP assisting with pharmaceutical, observational, and lifestyle intervention studies.

Caitlin McManus, BA

Caitlin is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a degree in Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience. During her undergraduate studies, she also volunteered at the Memory and Aging Program with the Outreach team. She currently works as a Research Assistant on studies focused on lifestyle interventions.

Masood Manoochehri, BA

Masood is a Senior Research Associate with the Memory and Aging Program. He graduated with a BA in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 2009. He worked at Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain for 11 years, coordinating several clinical trials and observational research studies of sporadic and familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). 

Claudine Narayan, BA

Claudine graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Psychology. She is a Senior Research Assistant for Dr. Huey’s lab and assists with the coordination of two observational studies that investigate psychiatric symptoms and emotional processes in individuals with neurodegenerative disease. Prior to joining Dr. Huey's team, she worked as a medical assistant at a retinal ophthalmology clinic and contributed to sleep and developmental research studies with teens and young children. 

Juan Pablo Cajiga, BA

Juan Pablo is a Senior Research Assistant who works closely with Dr. Edward Huey. His primary focus lies in the intersection of neurodegeneration and psychiatric symptoms, specifically with the Neurodegeneration-Associated Psychiatric Symptoms (NAPS) and the Positive and Negative Valance Emotional Systems in Neurodegenerative Disease (PAVES) research studies. He obtained his degree from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.

Colin Stein

Prior to joining MAP in 2022, Colin was a laboratory manager at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the department of Cerebrovascular Neurology where he oversaw studies investigating cognitive and behavioral outcomes and recovery from stroke in acute care in-patient settings. He then worked with Dr. Edward Huey at Columbia University where he operated clinical trials and observational studies treating and exploring neuropsychiatric symptoms of neurodegenerative disease, with a special focus on Frontal Temporal Dementia.

Shelby Bawden, BA

Shelby graduated from Providence College in 2023 with BAs in Biology and Psychology and a Certificate of Neuroscience. Shelby currently works in the MAP as a Research Assistant, administering clinical trials.

Megan Stradtman, PhD

Dr. Stradtman works as a Senior Research Assistant in the Memory and Aging Program. She earned a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The Pennsylvania State University in 2023, where her research efforts were focused on maintaining and improving vocal function and quality of life in older adulthood. Dr. Stradtman is also a certified, licensed speech-language pathologist and has worked clinically with older adults primarily in long-term care settings.

Maggie Malloy, BA

Maggie is a Research Assistant at the Memory and Aging Program. She conducted undergraduate research in perceptual illusions and assisted in an electrogustometry lab. Maggie works on several observational studies seeking to better understand a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.

Outreach and Recruitment

Tara Tang, BA

Tara Tang is the Outreach Manager for the Memory and Aging Program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in Spanish with an international communications minor. With her experience in patient recruitment, advertising and bilingual education, she looks forward to conversations with all communities in New England about Alzheimer’s disease and research.

Athena Lavoie, BS

Athena is an Outreach Coordinator for the Memory and Aging Program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University in Communications with a minor in Biology. Athena manages referrals for Alzheimer’s Prevention clinical trials, conducts brain health and Alzheimer’s Prevention information sessions in the community and coordinates cheek swab research for Alzheimer’s disease genotyping.

Lorrance Saraiva, BA

Lorrance is an Outreach Coordinator for the Memory and Aging Program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College in Public and Professional Communication. Prior to working at MAP, she worked with professionals specializing in training and educating clinicians on substance use and mental health disorders. Lorrance has over 8 years of experience in membership management, event planning, and marketing.   


Paula Lorenzi, MA

Paula spent 6 years working for Maternal Fetal Medicine Research at Women and Infant’s Hospital as a Research Assistant and then a Project Coordinator. She started working at MAP’s regulatory department in 2023.


Dawne Hardy, PhD

Dawne has 35+ years of non- profit financial management experience which includes working as a Grant Analyst for the Charlotte-Meckelenburg School Department in North Carolina and a Regional Finance Director for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte where she worked until relocating to Rhode Island in 2020. She received her BS in Accounting from Johnson & Wales University, and an MBA from Strayer University and MPHIL in Management from Walden University. She received my PhD in 2021 from Walden University with a concentration in Leadership and Organizational Change.

Maryanne Vieira

Maryanne is an Administrative Coordinator/Finance Research for the Memory & Aging Program.  She previously worked for a Psychiatric practice from 1995-2020 and transitioned to the office manager until the practice closed in 2020.  She handles all the post award functions for the Memory & Aging Program.


Dee M. Moniz

Dee joined the staff at Butler Hospital in 2007, supporting several programs including the Body Image Program, Child and Adolescent Services, and the Butler Hospital Foundation and Philanthropy departments before joining the Memory and Aging Program in 2014. 

Sheri Lelievre

Sheri joined the Butler Hospital staff in January 2017 after over 15 years with the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior of Brown University, primarily supporting the former chairman of the department. She is looking forward to her transition to the Memory and Aging Program working in support of Dr. Salloway and his dedicated team, and is thrilled to be staying on the beautiful Butler campus.

Ann Marie Ferrer

Ann Marie graduated from Bryant College with an associate’s degree in medical secretary sciences. She has been working at Butler Hospital for 33 years, the last 21 supporting Dr. Kenneth Rickler. Following his recent retirement, she will now support Dr. Benjamin Margolis, as well as continuing to work in the Memory & Aging Program.

Elizabeth Scuncio

Elizabeth joined Butler Hospital in 2022. Previously, Elizabeth worked for over 11 years as an office manager at Southern New England Anesthesia and Pain Associates in Pawtucket RI. She is looking forward to her role as Administrative Coordinator at the Memory and Aging program and to be working with such an amazing dedicated team.


Diane Charpentier

Diane graduated Rhode Island Hospital School for Laboratory Technicians and worked for Quest Diagnostics for 39 years (25 at Butler Hospital). A month after taking early retirement from Quest, Diane received a call from Dr. Salloway asking her to be a part of the Memory and Aging Program. 

Sarah DeForest

Sarah is a United States Air Force veteran who served 4 years as a Medic stationed at Andrews AFB. After getting out the service she has maintained her phlebotomy certification and been working as a phlebotomist for the past 8 years. As a part of the Memory and Aging Program team Sarah draws blood, performs EKGs, and assists nurses and research staff as needed.

Stephanie Goncalves

Stephanie graduated from Medical Assistant school in 2004 and has been in the medical field for 19 years. She received her phlebotomist certification in 2015. As part of the Memory and Aging Program team Stephanie draws blood, performs EKGs, and assists nurses and research staff as needed. 

Associated Physicians and Physician’s Assistants

Ghulam Mustafa Surti, MD

Ghulam Mustafa Surti, MD graduated from Dow Medical School in Karachi, Pakistan, and completed his psychiatry residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He is also a graduate of the Brown University Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship. 

Petra Klinge, MD

Dr. Petra Klinge is an internationally renowned general neurosurgeon specializing in the surgical treatment of patients with brain tumors, hydrocephalus and Alzheimer’s disease. She is also involved in the treatment of congenital diseases, such as Chiari and spinal malformations. 

Alvaro Olivares, MD

Dr. Alvaro Olivares graduated from the Universidad del Norte Faculty of Medicine in Barranquilla, Colombia and completed his residency at Butler Hospital. He is a board-certified psychiatrist who serves as the unit chief in psychiatry at Butler Hospital and hosts a weekly Spanish radio program, “Mental Health with Dr. Olivares.” Dr. Olivares conducts assessments in Spanish for the program’s A4 study.

Victoria Chang, MD

Dr. Victoria Chang received her medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine and completed her residency in neurology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, as well as a fellowship in movement disorders at Columbia University. Dr. Chang is an investigator in charge of programming for the deep brain stimulation (DBS) clinical trial at the Memory & Aging Program.

Wael Asaad, MD, PhD

Dr. Wael Asaad earned a PhD. in systems neuroscience from MIT, followed by an MD from Yale University. He completed a surgery internship and neurosurgical residency and fellowship in functional neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University. Dr. Asaad has a special interest in functional neurosurgery and is in charge of surgical treatment for the deep brain stimulation (DBS) clinical trial at the Memory & Aging Program.

Umer Akbar, MD

Dr. Umer Akbar received his medical degree from the Medical University of the Americas. He completed his residency in neurology at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey and a fellowship in movement disorders at the University of Florida. He is an investigator involved in programming for the deep brain stimulation (DBS) clinical trial in the Memory & Aging Program.

Amy F. Snyder, PA-C

Amy is a board-certified Physician Assistant. She received her BA in Biology and Art from Skidmore College and went on to work in the Laboratory for Rehabilitation Neuroscience at the University of Florida coordinating a longitudinal imaging study investigating patients with Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Systems Atrophy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, and Essential Tremor.

Wendy Fennelly, BS, MPAS

Wendy received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut and her physician’s assistant degree from George Washington University. Wendy performs physical/neurological exams for several of the clinical trials in the Memory & Aging Program.