PA) – Christopher M. Clark, M.D., Associate
Director of the University of Pennsylvania Alzheimer's Disease
Center and Director of the Memory Disorders Clinic,
has been selected to become a member of the national Alzheimer’s
Association Early-Stage Professional Task Force. The task force
will focus on the unique challenges facing people with early stage
Alzheimer’s disease and help develop recommendations to increase
their participation in the leadership and services offered by the
The Professional Task Force will be made up of multi-disciplinary
group of health care professionals involved in the diagnosis, treatment,
and program services for people with Alzheimer’s, and staff
from the national and local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association.
The task force will work closely with its counterpart – the
Advisory Group of People with Dementia – which is made up
of individuals diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
The two leadership groups met in Chicago for the first time, January
30th and 31st, 2006.
“I am excited to be joining this important initiative of the
Alzheimer’s Association,” said Clark. “There are
millions of people living with Alzheimer’s now and, as baby
boomers continue to age, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s will
increase. It’s important to focus on early-stage individuals
and to work with those affected by the disease. We need to address
their unique needs and find ways to reduce the stigma associated
with diagnosis so we can empower and support individuals and their
families – now and in the future.”
There are 4.5 million people currently living with Alzheimer’s
disease in the United States. By 2025, that number could increase
to as much as 6.5 million; and by 2050, that number could range
between 11.3 million and 16 million. “It’s important
that Alzheimer’s is diagnosed early in its progression to
allow individuals and family members to plan for the future,”
Early-stage Alzheimer’s is the disease phase at which a careful
medical interview can detect clear-cut deficiencies including the
decreased knowledge of recent occasions or personal history, and
the diminished ability to perform complex tasks – such as
planning a dinner party, or paying bills and managing finances.
Clark, a board certified neurologist, is an Associate Professor
of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine. He is also the Associate Director of Penn’s
Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC) and Memory Disorders Clinic, and
Director of the recently initiated Center of Excellence for Research
on Neurodegenerative Diseases at Penn. He is a Fellow of the University
of Pennsylvania's Institute on Aging and has been a Penn faculty
member since 1989.
Clark has spent most of his career studying Alzheimer's disease.
He is the current Principal Investigator of a National Institute
of Aging grant, and an investigator for numerous other studies including
the landmark Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).
His research interests focus on Alzheimer's disease and the development
of diagnostically specific markers, the identification and evaluation
of new treatments, the development of new instruments to measure
rates of change, and studies of the relationship between Parkinson's
disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Currently, the Alzheimer’s Association is collaborating with
four Alzheimer’s disease Research Centers to prepare a grant
proposal to measure the effectiveness of early stage programs offered
through the Association’s chapter network.
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise
dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical
research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists
of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in
1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation
for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in
U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top
research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty
and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide
for its superior education and training of the next generation of
physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System comprises: its
flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,
consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll”
hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital,
the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a
faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty
satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.