Through pioneering multidisciplinary research, the Marcus Institute is uncovering new answers to the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, delirium, and other changes to the brain.
Researching the Impact of Age-related Brain Changes
Our brain is responsible for much more than thinking and cognition. In fact, it controls all aspects of the way our body functions. Changes that happen in the brain as we get older affect areas of health such as gait, mobility, and falls; and increase our risk of experiencing dementia and delirium.
According to recent research, one in ten adults older than 65 experiences cognitive decline. This sobering statistic dramatically demonstrates the need to understand the connection between the brain and common age-related conditions, and to find ways to maintain brain health as we age.
Seeking Ways to Improve Brain Function in Older Adults
At the Marcus Institute, we’re seeking ways to prevent, reverse, treat, and manage brain-related changes in the functioning of older adults.
Because the brain is a complex organ that regulates all processes in our bodies, our research takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding its role in maintaining overall health. The Marcus Institute is:
- Investigating the novel use of non-invasive brain stimulation to improve depression, executive cognitive function, mobility, falls, and balance.
- Finding ways to enhance brain function to reduce the burden of cognitive decline, delirium, and dementia.
- Improving the care of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other related conditions, and reducing the burden on their caregivers.
Leading Researchers in Alzheimer’s, Delirium, and Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation
The Marcus Institute is home to top researchers in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, neurology, and delirium. To name just a few:
- Dr. Sharon Inouye has been awarded many of the highest accolades in her field due to her pioneering investigation of delirium.
- Dr. Susan Mitchell is a principal investigator on a massive collaborative research incubator developing trials aimed at evaluating interventions for Alzheimer’s and dementia, funded through a $53.4 million National Institute on Aging grant.
- Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone has been recognized as one of the world’s top 15 neuroscientists due to his innovative research into the use of non-invasive brain stimulation.
Explore this section to learn more about the Marcus Institute’s current research projects relating to cognition, Alzheimer’s disease, delirium, dementia, and depression.
Find current research projects
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Home-based transcranial electrical stimulation program
The goal of this funding is to support research efforts to test the feasibility and effects of long-term, home-based transcranial electric stimulation on mobility and cognition in older adults with elevated falls risk, and in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Supported by BrightFocus Foundation
Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP)
HELP is an innovative model of hospital care, designed to prevent delirium and functional decline in hospitalized older adults by using a volunteer model to provide personal, supportive attention thru daily orientation, early mobilization, feeding assistance, therapeutic activities, a non-pharmacological sleep protocol, and hearing/vision adaptations. The program is overseen by the American Geriatrics Society.
Modulating Brain Networks to Reduce Gait Variability in Older Adults at Risk of Falling
This research aims to examine the effects of non-invasive brain stimulation on resting-state functional connectivity and gait variability and related outcomes in older adults at risk of falling.
Multifocal Transcranial Current Stimulation for Cognitive and Motor Dysfunction in Dementia
This research aims to assess the possibility of concurrent targeting prefrontal (executive-control) and memory brain circuits to improve different cognitive disabilities in individuals with dementia using personalized, multi-focal non-invasive brain stimulation delivered as a home-based, remotely supervised intervention.
Network for Investigation of Delirium: Unifying Scientists (NIDUS)
NIDUS is a collaborative research network dedicated to promoting innovation and fostering advances in delirium research through development of innovative research and measurement resources, training opportunities, pilot funding, and dissemination of information.
NFLPA/Harvard Accelerated Research Collaboration to Protect and Improve the Health of Football Players
The project will implement kinematic assessments of gait and balance into the Harvard Football Players Health Study (FPHS) in-person assessments of retired professional American-style football players. The scientific aim of this study is to determine the effects of long-term exposure to this sport on health outcomes in later life.
NIA AD/ADRD Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory (IMPACT)
The NIA AD/ADRD Collaboratory will provide the national infrastructure necessary to catalyze and support embedded pragmatic clinical trials of non-pharmacological interventions for persons with dementia. By convening national experts to provide consultation and guidance to Collaboratory-funded pilot projects and NIA-funded trials, the Collaboratory has the potential to transform care delivery, quality, and outcomes for millions of Americans suffering with AD/ADRD.
Nursing Home Prevention of Injury in Dementia (NH PRIDE)
This research aims to develop and implement an Injury Liaison Service in four nursing home facilities that will promote deprescribing psychoactive and cardiometabolic drugs and encourage osteoporosis treatment.
Optimizing Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to Improve Dual Task Gait and Balance in Older Adults
This research aims to use personalized transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to improve dual task standing and walking in older adults.
Join a Research Study
The goal of the study is to determine whether the senolytic medications Dasatinib and Quercetin can reduce senescent cells, increase mobility (walking speed), and improve memory in older adults.
The goal of this study is to learn about the relationship between antioxidants (commonly found in blueberries) and motivation to exercise. Researchers think that supplementing one's diet with antioxidants on a daily basis may be a practical way to reduce inflammation and improve lack of motivation to exercise.
Berries and Steps Study Faculty
The goal is to determine whether non-invasive brain stimulation improves balance and walking.