Geriatric Psychiatry Research

The Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program is devoted to the study of changes in cognition and memory associated with aging, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementia, in addition to neurobehavioral disorders that occur later in life, such as late-life major depression.

The program provides free memory evaluations to members of the community who may be experiencing memory concerns or cognitive impairment, and offers participation in a number of clinical research studies for individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease.


The Geriatric Psychiatry Research Division includes a staff of clinical and experimental research scientists at NKI with expertise in diverse aging-related health issues.

The focus of the research is to identify adverse cognitive changes associated with normal brain aging, Alzheimer’s disease, other neurobehavioral disorders, and commonly prescribed psychotropic agents.

The group is also investigating genetic and other neurobiological factors that may increase susceptibility to drug-induced cognitive dysfunction and AD risk.

Memory Education and Research Initiative (MERI)

The Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program’s Memory Education and Research Initiative (MERI) program offers no-cost comprehensive memory and cognitive evaluations to individuals with memory complaints or with a family history of memory disorders.

A MERI visit consists of a medical history and medication review, a neuropsychological test battery, and a psychiatric evaluation.

The results of the evaluation can be helpful in diagnosing a memory disorder or other psychiatric disorder, or determine normal cognitive performance.

Brief comments and recommendations are provided to participants after being discussed by our team. The evaluation also enables the researchers to collect data on the study of memory in the elderly across time.

You can learn more about the MERI program here.

Clinical Trials

The Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program also conducts a number of clinical trials that evaluate the efficacy and safety of novel pharmacological agents that are not yet available through prescription. Some of these offer potentially disease-modifying treatments, which could slow down or prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other pharmacological agents offer potential symptomatic relief for problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, including agitation, restlessness, aggression, and forgetfulness.

These clinical trials are sponsored by some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Sharpe, & Dohme, Hoffmann-La Roche, Eli Lilly; as well as the National Institute on Aging (NIA) sponsored Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS).

Current clinical trials are intended to help those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, as well as people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) who are believed to be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and those with normal cognition who may be at a high-risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, the research program is a participating clinical site for two federally funded prevention trials in cognitively intact elderly individuals with known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.  For more information or to participate in a clinical trial, please call us at 845-398-5582.