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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Florida International: Researcher to Study the Connection Between Psychiatric Conditions and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Shanna L. Burke, assistant professor at the Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, has been awarded nearly $95,000 from The Florida Department of Health to study the effects of depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance on brain structure leading to Alzheimer’s disease. The funds will come from the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program and are part of a $4.8 million project across Florida to help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Burke previously conducted studies that investigated if depression, anxiety and/or sleep disturbance increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our results indicated that there is a relationship between having symptoms of these psychiatric conditions among people without any cognitive impairment and a higher risk of an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis later in life,” said Dr. Burke.

Psychiatric conditions may increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and changes in brain structures may be an indicator of these changes. The link between psychiatric conditions and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias remains under study.

“We are excited to pursue this investigation using data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center, which is collected at more than 30 Alzheimer’s Disease Centers across the United States.”

Alzheimer’s disease is of great public significance as there are no cures nor any therapeutic approaches that can arrest the progression of the disease. According to the State of Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs, there are an estimated 520,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease in the state. Nationwide, an estimated one in three individuals will develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

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