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USC experts can discuss newly approved Alzheimer’s drug and related dementia research

July 02, 2024

The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new drug designed to slow the progression of early symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease. The drug, donanemab, was shown in studies to modestly slow cognitive decline in initial stages of the disease but it also carries safety risks. USC experts can speak about the potential impact of amyloid-clearing medications.

Contact: Leigh Hopper at or

Helena Chui can discuss potentially serious side effects of new Alzheimer’s drugs which include brain swelling and bleeding.

Paul Aisen can discuss amyloid-clearing drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. Aisen is the founding director of the Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute of USC (ATRI).

Lon Schneider is an expert on psychiatry, dementia prevention, intervention and care.

Elizabeth Joe sees Alzheimer’s patients in the clinic and can speak about diagnosing the disease and issues facing families.

Julie Zissimopoulos focuses on the economic costs of dementia, the impact of dementia on care partners, and racial and ethnic disparities in diagnosis and health care treatment for dementia.

María Aranda can discuss the burden of dementia in Black and Latino populations and how to diversify clinical trials. Aranda is the director of outreach, recruitment and engagement at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at USC.

Donna Benton can discuss the challenges faced by caregivers, including the aging parents of people with Down syndrome, who are susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s in middle age.

Hussein Yassine specializes in how changes in lipid metabolism and nutrition affect cognition and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. He directs a new center for patients who carry the APOE4 allele, the strongest genetic risk factor for dementia.

Additional USC experts

The economics of aging

Dana Goldman can discuss health policies that impact patients with dementia and their caregivers.

Soeren Mattke studies the economic, political and societal implications of Alzheimer’s treatment.

Arie Kapteyn’s recent work is in the field of aging and economic decision making, with papers on topics related to retirement, consumption and savings, disability and economic well-being of the elderly.

Alzheimer’s origins

Andrew Petkus, Caleb Finch and Jiu-Chiuan (JC) Chen  explore the link between fine-particle pollution and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Andrei Irimia is a biogerontologist and computational neurobiologist studying the effects of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors on brain aging. He’s looked at Indigenous populations in the Bolivian Amazon to understand healthy brain aging.

Margaret Gatz researches age-related change in depressive symptoms, personality, and cognition; and risk and protective factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

John Ringman is an expert on the Jaliso gene, which predisposes people to developing Alzheimer’s in their 40s.

Michael Rafii can discuss the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s.

Zhen Zhao researches the genetic causes of vascular cognitive impairment and dementia.

Sean Curran is an expert in the biological mechanisms of aging, nutrition and stress adaptation.  

Eileen Crimmins has led decades of research focused on how health changes over the life cycle, as well as differences in chronological and biological age.

Brain imaging, mapping, data

Art Toga is an expert in brain mapping. He is a Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry, and the Behavioral Sciences, Radiology, Engineering and Biological Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Neda Jahanshad researches genetic influences on brain structure using high-resolution structural and diffusion imaging. Her work with diffusion imaging involves monitoring the effects of infectious diseases, such as HIV, on the brain.

Paul Thompson is principal investigator and co-founder of a consortium which has cooperatively analyzed data from over 45 countries to publish the largest worldwide neuroimaging studies of over 15 brain diseases and conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, ataxia and brain injury, PTSD, substance use disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, and neurodevelopmental conditions including OCD, ADHD, and ASD.

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