The U.S. National Academy of Medicine announced the election of 90 new regular members at its annual meeting on October 18, bringing the total membership to about 2,200. Five of the honorees are well-known to the Alzforum community: Ted Dawson, Zhigang He, Jennifer Manly, Lennart Mucke, and Reisa Sperling were all inducted into this medical hall of fame. Ten scientists from abroad were also recognized by the Academy, bringing the total number of international members to 172.
The academy chose Dawson, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, for his lifelong research into neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. His lab has studied the roles of various molecular and cellular players in the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons (Jul 2019 conference news; Oct 2016 news). He, from Boston Children’s Hospital, was honored for his seminal work in neuron and axon regeneration, identifying key factors that control or prevent neurons from regenerating (Feb 2012 news; Norsworthy et al., 2017).
Manly, from Columbia University, New York, was recognized for her work investigating differences, especially in early life, among racially, culturally, and socio-economically diverse groups that can modify risk for cognitive decline as people age (Zahodne et al., 2015; Sisco et al., 2015). Manly was one of only two academics appointed to the National Alzheimer’s Project Act advisory council when it was established in 2011 (Aug 2011 news).
Mucke, Gladstone Institute of Neurological Diseases, San Francisco, has made important contributions in the study of Aβ and tau in neurodegeneration. He was among the first to recognize that the latter mediates the toxicity of the former, and he has helped identify the molecular players that contribute to neurotoxicity in AD (May 2007 news; Dec 2010 news). The academy noted his work uncovering neural network dysfunction that contributes to cognitive decline (Sep 2007 news; Mar 2013 news; Vossel et al., 2013).
Sperling, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, has spearheaded the search for new treatments to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and has been the principal investigator on several high-profile clinical trials (Jan 2013 conference news). She also was a driving force behind the development of new diagnostic criteria for AD, which saw a conceptual shift from reliance on clinical symptoms alone to the incorporation of quantitative biomarkers (Aug 2010 conference news; Apr 2011 news on Sperling et al., 2011). The Academy recognized how Sperling’s research revolutionized the concept of preclinical AD. —Tom Fagan
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- Norsworthy MW, Bei F, Kawaguchi R, Wang Q, Tran NM, Li Y, Brommer B, Zhang Y, Wang C, Sanes JR, Coppola G, He Z. Sox11 Expression Promotes Regeneration of Some Retinal Ganglion Cell Types but Kills Others. Neuron. 2017 Jun 21;94(6):1112-1120.e4. PubMed.
- Zahodne LB, Stern Y, Manly JJ. Differing effects of education on cognitive decline in diverse elders with low versus high educational attainment. Neuropsychology. 2015 Jul;29(4):649-57. Epub 2014 Sep 15 PubMed.
- Sisco S, Gross AL, Shih RA, Sachs BC, Glymour MM, Bangen KJ, Benitez A, Skinner J, Schneider BC, Manly JJ. The role of early-life educational quality and literacy in explaining racial disparities in cognition in late life. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2015 Jul;70(4):557-67. Epub 2014 Feb 28 PubMed.
- Vossel KA, Beagle AJ, Rabinovici GD, Shu H, Lee SE, Naasan G, Hegde M, Cornes SB, Henry ML, Nelson AB, Seeley WW, Geschwind MD, Gorno-Tempini ML, Shih T, Kirsch HE, Garcia PA, Miller BL, Mucke L. Seizures and epileptiform activity in the early stages of Alzheimer disease. JAMA Neurol. 2013 Sep 1;70(9):1158-66. PubMed.
- Sperling RA, Aisen PS, Beckett LA, Bennett DA, Craft S, Fagan AM, Iwatsubo T, Jack CR Jr, Kaye J, Montine TJ, Park DC, Reiman EM, Rowe CC, Siemers E, Stern Y, Yaffe K, Carrillo MC, Thies B, Morrison-Bogorad M, Wagster MV, Phelps CH. Toward defining the preclinical stages of Alzheimer's disease: recommendations from the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer's Association workgroups on diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2011 May;7(3):280-92. Epub 2011 Apr 21 PubMed.
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