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Dr. Philip Wolf Given the Prestigious Robert Wartenberg Lecture Award
for Excellence in Clinical Research

April 14, 2010 – Toronto, Canada

Dr. Philip Wolf was awarded the Robert Wartenberg Lecture, a prestigious award sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology for excellence in clinically relevant research. His lecture, entitled “Midlife risk profile and later life cognitive decline and dementia” was presented during the Presidential Plenary Session of the Scientific Program of the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting.

Robert Wartenberg Lecture
“Midlife risk profile and later life cognitive decline and dementia"

Philip A. Wolf, MD, FAAN

Risk factors for stroke have been identified from prospective epidemiologic study. It is possible to estimate the probability of future stroke during a specific time period by means of a risk profile combining these factors.

This quantitative assessment of stroke risk permits identification of persons at increased risk of stroke and facilitates preventive interventions. Many of these individual risk factors for stroke and the stroke risk profile can be used to identify persons at increased risk of brain aging, cognitive decline, and dementia. It has become increasingly clear the changes associated with decreased cognitive performance and structural changes in the brain occur over many years and may be identified decades before dementia occurs. These changes augment other pathologic processes associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, to increase the risk of dementia. Predisposing midlife factors which have already been implicated include physical characteristics (blood pressure level and BMI), lifestyle habits (diet, cigarette smoking, and physical activity), disease states (diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease), and hereditary factors including family history of AD and the apo e4 allele. In addition, blood and CSF biomarkers, as well as new genetic variants, are rapidly being identified.

A risk profile for cognitive decline and dementia may be refined by taking these factors into account yielding improved accuracy of prediction years before the appearance of clinical disease. This risk profile may facilitate identification of persons at high risk for clinical trials and early preventive intervention to reduce the incidence or delay the onset of cognitive decline and dementia.

Philip A. Wolf, MD, FAAN, is Professor of Neurology, Medicine and Epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine. He has been a Framingham Heart Study investigator since 1967 and PI of the study since 1989. Wolf’s research is in the epidemiology of stroke, dementia, and cognitive decline. He is the author of more than 250 original research articles, served as Chief of the Stroke Section at Boston University from 1969 to 2000, and is a Fellow of the AHA Stroke, and Epidemiology and Disease Prevention Councils. Wolf has been PI of grant awards from NINDS, Precursors of Stroke Incidence and Prognosis since 1981, from the NIA Epidemiology of Dementia since 1989, MRI, Genetic and Cognitive Precursors of AD and Dementia since 1999, and MRI, Cognitive Genetic and Biomarker Precursors of AD and Dementia in Young Adults since 2009. He received the Jacob A. Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award (NINDS), Award for Excellent in Clinical Stroke (AHA Stroke Council), and delivered the Connor Memorial Lecture (AHA). He also received the Mihara Award of the International Stroke Society; the New England Chapter C. Miller Fisher MD Stroke Award; the Distinguished Scientist Award of the AHA Stroke Council; and received the degree of DSc (Hon) from his alma mater State Medical University in Syracuse, NY. Wolf is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association, and the American Epidemiologic Society.

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Profile:  Philip A. Wolf, MD, FAAN


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