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Overview

Dementia can be caused by a number of different conditions; it is a symptom of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, frontotemporal dementia or corticobasal degeneration. The term "dementia" describes a progressive, degenerative decline in cognitive function that gradually destroys memory and the ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. While it often includes memory loss, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia. Dementia affects 17–25 million people worldwide.

Dementia is not a specific disease; it is a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders, including neurodegenerative disease. The term "dementia" describes a progressive decline in memory or other cognitive functions that interferes in the ability to perform your usual daily activities (driving, shopping, balancing a checkbook, working, communicating, etc.). The deterioration is more than might be expected from normal aging and is due to damage or disease.

Trishna Subas

Research Coordinator

Trishna Subas graduated from UC Berkeley in 2009 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. Prior to coming to the Memory and Aging Center, she worked in the Berkeley Psychophysiology Lab investigating dementia and its connection to emotional functioning, and on a variety of projects regarding emotion and social interaction. She also worked at the Mills Lab, on a study which has followed a cohort of women from 1958 to the present.

Trishna joined the Memory and Aging Center in July 2010. Her primary role is managing the New Approaches to Dementia Heterogeneity grant, which follows patients with the goal of learning more about dementia to improve early detection and clinical care for patients. Additionally, she conducts cognitive testing with patients and assists in the validation of new diagnostic criteria for dementia.

Keith Vossel, MD

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Dr. Keith Vossel received his MSc degree in biomedical engineering and medical degree at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. He completed medical internship at Brigham and Women's Hospital and neurology residency at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospitals, Harvard Medical School, where he served his final year as chief resident. Dr. Vossel completed behavioral neurology fellowship with Dr. Bruce Miller at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and postdoctoral training in neurodegenerative disease with Dr. Lennart Mucke at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease.

In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Vossel is working at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, where he investigates mechanisms and novel treatment approaches for neural network dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease, with focus on the tau protein and axonal transport. Dr. Vossel is leading a clinical trial at UCSF to investigate seizures and epileptic activity in neurodegenerative disease. He is a recipient of the Paul Beeson Career Development Award in Aging Research, through the National Institute on Aging and American Federation for Aging Research, and the John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation Distinguished Research Scholar Award.

William Seeley, MD

Associate Professor of Neurology

Dr. Seeley attended medical school at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), where he first encountered patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in 1999, during a research elective with Dr. Bruce Miller. He then completed a neurology residency at Harvard Medical School, training at the Massachusetts General and Brigham & Women's Hospitals. Returning to UCSF for a behavioral neurology fellowship, with Dr. Miller, Dr. Seeley developed expertise in the differential diagnosis and treatment of patients with neurodegenerative disease. He is currently an Associate Professor of Neurology at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, where he participates in patient evaluation and management.

Dr. Seeley’s research in his Selective Vulnerability Research Laboratory concerns regional vulnerability in dementia, that is, why particular dementias target specific neuronal populations. Dr. Seeley addresses this question through behavioral, functional imaging and neuropathology studies. The goal of his research is to determine what makes brain tissues susceptible or resistant to degeneration, with an eye toward ultimately translating these findings into novel treatment approaches.

Howard Rosen, MD

Associate Professor of Neurology

Dr. Rosen is a behavioral neurologist. He received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine, trained in internal medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and subsequently completed a neurology residency at UCSF. After residency, Dr. Rosen pursued fellowship training in brain imaging at the Washington University School of Medicine, and then returned to UCSF to join the team at the Memory and Aging Center (MAC) in 1999.

Dr. Rosen’s primary research interest is in the effects that atypical neurodegenerative diseases, in particular frontotemporal dementia, have on the brain, especially the emotional systems. His current projects use psychophysiology and imaging to examine how these diseases affect self-awareness, and to determine how imaging and other biological markers can be used to track and to anticipate how these disease affect the brain over time. He is also director of education and outreach for the education core in UCSF’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

As part of the MAC and the UCSF Department of Neurology, he participates in the training of medical students, residents and fellows, and participates in the evaluation of new patients in the MAC clinic as well as the continued management of care for some of these individuals in the continuity clinic.

Photo by Elisabeth Fall

Gil Rabinovici, MD

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Dr. Rabinovici received his BS degree from Stanford University and MD from Northwestern University Medical School. He completed an internship in internal medicine at Stanford University, neurology residency (and chief residency) at UCSF and a behavioral neurology fellowship at the Memory and Aging Center, where he has remains on faculty as an attending neurologist.

Dr. Rabinovici participates in patient evaluations and management and coordinates medical student and resident training. His research focuses on how structural, functional and molecular brain imaging techniques can be used to improve diagnostic accuracy in dementia and to study the biology of neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Rabinovici’s work is supported by the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, the John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation and the Hellman Family Foundation. He is the recipient of the 2012 American Academy of Neurology Research Award in Geriatric Neurology and the 2010 Best Paper in Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging: New Investigator Award from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Suzee Lee, MD

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Dr. Lee received a BA degree in English from Harvard and an MD degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She then completed an internal medicine internship at Brown University and neurology residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, serving as Chief Resident in her final year. Dr. Lee completed a behavioral neurology fellowship at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. She is a neurologist who evaluates and treats patients at the Memory and Aging Center.

Dr. Lee's research focuses on neuroimaging in atypical dementias, such as corticobasal degeneration and frontotemporal dementia. Her interests also include understanding genetic susceptibility in atypical dementias.

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