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Mark W. Bondi, Ph.D., recipient of 2016 Alzheimer Award

Honored for groundbreaking work published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

IOS Press

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Credit: ©IOS Press, 2016

The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (JAD) is pleased to announce that Mark W. Bondi, PhD, ABPP/CN, Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego and Director of the Neuropsychological Assessment Unit at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2016 Alzheimer Award presented by the journal in recognition of his outstanding work on the development of a novel and promising method of staging preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) based on number of abnormal biomarkers that is predictive of progression to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD.

The winning paper is "Subtle Cognitive Decline and Biomarker Staging in Preclinical Alzheimer's Disease" (J Alzheimers Dis 47, 231-242, 2015), which is freely available to all readers.

"By clearly defining 'subtle cognitive decline' via sensitive and reliable neuropsychological test scores, and by re-exploring timelines of biomarker and cognitive changes, we hope to improve diagnostic precision of preclinical AD and sharpen our ability to identify early signs associated with different neurobiological pathways to the diagnosis of AD," explained Dr. Bondi. "I would like to thank the article's lead author, Dr. Emily Edmonds, and the entire research team, whose work helped achieve these significant results. And I would like to thank the editors of the journal, who selected our paper among the hundreds published by the journal in 2015."

Each year, the Associate Editors of the journal select the best article from the previous year's volumes. The awardee is presented the Alzheimer Medal, a 3" bronze medal with the likeness of Alois Alzheimer and a cash prize of $7500. This annual award is made possible by support from the Alzheimer's Research & Prevention Foundation and IOS Press, publisher of JAD.

"We are pleased to support JAD in presenting this well-deserved award. Dr. Bondi's work coincides with ours and we hope it will highlight the importance of early, non-pharma lifestyle interventions to prevent AD," remarked Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, President/Medical Director of the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of General Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Integrative Medicine, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

Significance of the Study

The NIA-AA criteria for "preclinical" Alzheimer's disease (Sperling et al., Alzheimers Dement, 7, 280-292, 2011) propose a staging method in which AD biomarkers follow an invariant temporal sequence in accordance with the amyloid cascade model: Stage 1 refers to amyloid accumulation only; Stage 2 refers to amyloidosis plus neurodegeneration; and Stage 3 requires both, plus evidence of subtle cognitive decline. However, findings of a study conducted by Dr. Bondi and his co-investigators (Edmonds et al., J Alzheimers Dis, 47, 231-242, 2015) did not conform to this sequence. They found that, among participants in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, neurodegeneration alone was 2.5 times more common than amyloidosis alone at baseline. For participants who demonstrated only one abnormal biomarker at baseline and later progressed, neurodegeneration was most common. Amyloidosis only or subtle cognitive decline only were less common--and equally common. Thus, the majority did not show amyloid positivity as the first sign of their eventual progression to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or AD diagnosis, suggesting that most individuals do not follow the temporal order proposed by NIA-AA criteria.

In this article, investigators also provide an operational definition of subtle cognitive decline that follows from their prior work on defining MCI via actuarial neuropsychological criteria (Bondi et al., J Alzheimers Dis, 42, 275-289, 2014), and they offer a new approach to staging preclinical AD based on number of abnormal markers without regard to their temporal order. This method of characterizing preclinical AD is more parsimonious than the NIA-AA staging system and does not presume that all patients follow a singular invariant expression of the disease in accordance with the amyloid cascade model.

Alzheimer Award Recipient Mark Bondi, PhD

Dr. Mark Bondi received his PhD in clinical psychology and neuropsychology from the University of Arizona in 1991. He completed his internship and fellowship training at UC San Diego and joined the faculty in 1994. He is currently Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego and Director of the Neuropsychological Assessment Unit at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. He has served on several elected boards of the American Psychological Association, the Board of Directors of the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, and Board of Governors of the International Neuropsychological Society. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and National Academy of Neuropsychology, and President-Elect of the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40 of APA). Since 1991 he has received continuous funding from NIH, VA, and private foundation grants. He is the recipient of a Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research from NIA and sponsor or co-sponsor of 11 NIH and VA career development awards of his current and former trainees. His research centers on the cognitive and brain changes of individuals at risk for dementia and he has published more than 165 articles, books, and chapters.

"The Associate Editors and I are delighted that through this award we are able to recognize work that represents a major advancement in the use of biomarkers to more accurately diagnose and predict the progression of AD and MCI," commented George Perry, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, and Dean of the College of Sciences and Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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