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The FDA Has Approved A New Breakthrough
Treatment for Alzheimer's

We are excited to announce a new breakthrough treatment in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease! Aducanumab is a monoclonal antibody given monthly by intravenous infusion to lower amyloid plaques in the brain and slow down memory loss.

You may be a candidate for treatment with aducanumab if you have early stages of Alzheimer’s disease known as mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia.

Aducanumab may not be a good fit for you if you have moderate or severe dementia, a history of stroke or hemorrhage, unstable medical conditions and you are unable to complete an MRI.

We are working hard to be ready to provide this treatment. A referral from your current physician is required to be considered for treatment. If you think you might be eligible for treatment please talk with your current provider. We will update our website as soon as more information about the aducanumab treatment program is available.

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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. 

Contact Information:

Memory and Aging Program
345 Blackstone Boulevard
1st Floor Weld Building
Providence, RI 02906
P: (401) 455-6403
F: (401) 455-6405

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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.

Memory Matters Magazine

August 2021 Issue



March 2021 Issue



November 2020 Issue



Get Involved

The research advancements made at Butler Hospital towards a future without Alzheimer's disease would not be possible without our courageous study participants, and dedicated, compassionate volunteers, donors and friends.
Please join us in our mission!


Join the many college students, retirees, Alzheimer’s activists, and others who help to further our research.


Your gift, in any amount, will help us take one more step in our quest to MAP an end to Alzheimer’s.

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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

Stephen Salloway, MD, MS

Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry,
Alpert Medical School of Brown University
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 has authored over 200 journal articles, book chapters, and abstracts and edited three books on prevention and early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

Stephen Correia, PhD

Director of Research, Memory & Aging Program; Director of Psychology

Dr. Correia is a research neuropsychologist with interest in brain imaging analysis, particularly the impact of dementia and other disorders on cerebral white matter. Dr. Correia’s clinical appointment is at the Providence VA Medical Center. He conducts neuroimaging research in collaboration with the Memory and Aging Program.

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. 

Hwamee Oh, PhD
Director of Imaging Research in the Memory and Aging Program
Director of Imaging Research in the Memory and Aging Program, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior,  Dr. Hwamee Oh is a cognitive neuroscientist studying cognitive and neural bases of human memory and how the memory system changes with aging and Alzheimer’s disease, with a special emphasis on preclinical older adults. 
Brian Castelluccio PhD

Dr. Castelluccio is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist. He conducts neuropsychological evaluations with a special focus on older adults. He also works as a clinical rater for research studies in the Memory and Aging Program. Dr. Castelluccio completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology at the University of Connecticut.

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. 


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.

GinaMarie Tonini, MBA

Gina has earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Salve Regina University. Gina joined the Memory and Aging Program in 2018 and has coordinated multiple prevention studies prior to her role as Assistant Manager. Prior to working at the Memory and Aging Program, she was a clinician for individuals struggling with mental health and substance use disorders.

Clinical Providers

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. 

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.

Monique Coley, Physician Assistant (PA-C)

Monique is a board-certified physician assistant. She received her M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies from Johnson & Wales University and her B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University in Georgia. Prior to joining the Memory & Aging Program, she worked as a PA with Lifespan Cancer Institute caring for a variety of patients with oncologic diseases. 

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.


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

Courtney is a research project manager with the Memory and Aging Program. She completed her PhD in neuroscience, focusing on early injury to the developing brain. She is especially interested in differences in both the degree of injury and the long-term developmental outcome between males and females when early injury occurs.

Samuel Slezak, MS

Sam graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialization in exercise science. During his graduate education he coordinated research investigating methods of improving the health and longevity of older adults.

Joslynn Faustino, PhD

Joslynn joined the staff at the Memory and Aging Program in 2015. As a Research Project Manager, she implements and coordinates study-specific regulatory documentation of active clinical trials and new start-up trials. Prior to working in regulatory, she studied molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease.

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.

Jennifer Strenger, MA

Jennifer graduated with a Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh in 2018, where she wrote her dissertation on psycholinguistics. After receiving her MA, she subsequently completed additional study in psychology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. 

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. She spent 5 years working with individuals struggling with mental health and substance use disorders before joining the Memory and Aging Program. Priscilla currently assists with the coordination of clinical trials and observational studies investigating longitudinal changes in individuals at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Corinne Roma, BS

Corinne graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a concentration in Health Equity from Cornell University. Primarily interested in sociodemographic vulnerabilities associated with psychopathology, she assists with several studies at the Memory and Aging program focusing on pharmaceutical and lifestyle interventions.

Katie Spitalnic, BA

Katie graduated from Providence College in 2020, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Prior to joining the Memory and Aging Program, she spent her time assisting in research laboratories focusing on different areas of cognition and clinical psychology.

Grace Arnold, BS

Grace graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Union College (NY) in 2021. She assists with multiple trials at the Memory and Aging program. Grace’s interest in research stemmed from her passion for prevention before treatment, with her primary focus on progressive brain diseases such as CTE and dementias.

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’s previous experience includes four years of Chamber of Commerce event management as well as experience in college admissions outreach. 

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. Lorrance has over 5 years of experience in membership management and event planning for a professional organization specializing in training and educating clinicians on substance use and mental health disorders.


Edmund Arthur,OD, PhD, FAAO

Edmund Arthur received his Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology-Ghana (2014) and his PhD in Vision Science from Indiana University Bloomington (2018). His PhD dissertation focused on detecting preclinical retinal changes in diabetic patients using advanced retinal imaging. 


Erin Poyant

Erin began her career with the Memory and Aging Program in March 2012 as a research project coordinator. Since then, her role has expanded to heading the program’s regulatory department and overseeing the laboratory.


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. 

Sherri Palumbo

Sherri started working at Butler Hospital in 2008 as a unit secretary on the inpatient unit. She joined the Memory and Aging Program in 2014. Sherri initiated and manages the Butler Employee Wellness Room, a relaxing break space for employees that encourages stress management and workplace wellness.

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.


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.

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.