Penn Researcher Christopher M. Clark, MD, Selected
for National Task Force
on Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
(Philadelphia, 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 Association.
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,” added Clark.
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
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.