Michael W. Weiner, M.D.
Professor of Radiology, UCSF
Speaking about The Brain Health Registry
Dr. Michael W. Weiner is founder and Principal Investigator of the Brain Health Registry.
The Brain Health Registry is an innovative new project designed to further understanding of human brains as they age and to hasten the search for cures to Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, PTSD and other brain disorders.
The Registry was built to address two of the biggest obstacles on the path to cures for brain disorders: the cost and time involved in clinical trials. These trials can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and are often delayed by many years. The Brain Health Registry, based at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), can make clinical trials for neurological diseases and disorders faster, better and less expensive. And that can get us closer to cures.
The internet-based Registry relies on volunteers to provide information about their medical history, family history, mood, and lifestyle. It also uses engaging and well-validated online cognitive assessment tools. These are very much like online brain games, and give the scientific team a snapshot of the volunteers’ cognitive function. Because it asks for this information at regular intervals, the team is able to track brains as they age and, in some cases, develop disorders.
For human studies carried out by researchers and drug developers, the Registry represents a massive pre-screened pool of potential clinical trial participants (this is what makes the trials faster and less expensive.) In many cases, industry partners may access longitudinal data that precedes the beginning of their clinical trial (this is what makes the trials better). Academic investigators will also be able to access de-identified data for additional research on brain disorders and healthy brain aging.
Participation in the Brain Health Registry is easy. It takes a few minutes to sign up, and less than three hours per year. It is all done online and can be done anywhere one can access the Internet. Anyone 18 or older can participate. The initial geographic focus is the San Francisco Bay Area – an effort that could lead more neurological clinical trials to be conducted in the region.
The Brain Health Registry has established key partnerships with leading neuroscience companies , including San Francisco-based Lumosity and the Australian company, Cogstate.
Dr. Weiner is also Principle Investigator of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), the world’s largest observational study concerning Alzheimer's. Through over 40 years of groundbreaking research and comprehensive imaging of the brain, Dr. Weiner and his collaborators have revolutionized the process of identifying biomarkers that predict Alzheimer’s disease, making it easier to detect Alzheimer’s at critical early stages. His pioneering work with ADNI is creating standardized methods for imaging and biomarker collection and analysis, allowing scientists to conduct cohesive, and compatible research that can be shared between labs around the globe. For more information, contact Dr. Weiner at Michael.Weiner@ucsf.edu.