DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The study of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is crucial since MCI subjects convert to Alzheimer's Disease (AD) at the rate of 10-15%/year as compared to 1-2% of the general population; indeed, the long term goal of the candidate is to develop a research project dedicated to the prevention of AD by early detection and treatment of psychiatric problems in patients with MCI. In order to achieve this; the candidate needs to have expertise and knowledge in prospective research. The proposed special application of the K01 Award (Scientist Development Award for New Minority Faculty) will address this need via two short term goals: (1) developing expertise in neurodegenerative disorders with a focus on MCI, which is the border zone between normal aging and AD; and (2) developing expertise in prospective research and longitudinal methods by focusing on identifying psychiatric risk factors and their impact in the disease progression of MCI. These two objectives will be met via mentored activities, course work and research. The mentor of the candidate is a Principal Investigator (PI) on AD prevention study targeting MCI involving 70 Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers. The candidate will meet with the mentors regularly throughout the grant period to discuss didactic and research issues. The course work will lead to a MSc degree in clinical research through the Mayo Clinical Research Training Program (MCRTP). The candidate's research plan is innovative because it targets the study of noncognitive variables in MCI. Most subjects with MCI likely manifest the earliest signs of AD. These manifestations not only include cognitive dysfunction, but may also involve neuropsychiatric symptoms as well. In this proposed K award, apathy, anxiety and depression will be longitudinally studied in MCI subjects and age-gender matched controls. The research will be conducted at the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. The K award will then be followed by an R01 submission that will focus on the treatment of these symptoms in order to decrease the rate of decline of MCI to AD. In summary, the research project and the educational activities of the K award will lay down the foundation for the candidate to become an independent investigator in the gray zone between aging and dementia.
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