healthy, normal aging

IDEAS: Imaging Dementia – Evidence for Amyloid Scanning

The IDEAS study will investigate how a specific type of brain scan – known as an amyloid PET scan – helps guide doctors in treating mild cognitive impairment or dementia, and whether these changes in treatment lead to better medical outcomes for patients.


  • Study director: Gil Rabinovici, MD
  • Sponsor: Alzheimer’s Association
  • Recruiting?: Yes
  • Official study title: IDEAS: Imaging Dementia – Evidence for Amyloid Scanning

PET Imaging in Aging Population

The aim of this study is to identify the relationship between amyloid aggregation in the brain and brain structure and function. Participants who want to volunteer for research on healthy aging should first join the Healthy Aging Program.

Participants who want to volunteer for research on healthy aging should first join the Healthy Aging Program. Joining this program involves a single visit every 15 months and will enable you to get involved in other related research projects, like this study, if you’re interested.


Julie Feuer, LCSW

Social Worker

Julie Feuer earned a Master of Science degree from Columbia University School of Social Work and is certified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She relocated from the East Coast several years ago and is happy to have found a new home in San Francisco and the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Julie’s work typically focuses on mental health, wellness, and interpersonal communication and roles. For more than 15 years she has worked closely with families and individuals in their homes, the community, and within hospital and clinic settings. She describes ‘coming of age’ professionally at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, and remains drawn to models of care that build upon people’s internal strengths, social supports, and community resources. Before joining the Care Ecosystem study in 2015, Julie provided clinical and administrative supervision to therapists and case managers serving adults with severe and chronic mental illnesses. In a previous role as a therapist with the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study, she worked to help people alleviate psycho-social-spiritual distress as they approached the end of life.

Dana McDermott, DO

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Dana McDermott is a behavioral neurology fellow at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Prior to joining the MAC in July 2016, she completed her medical education at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and her medicine internship and neurology residency training at the University of California, Irvine, where she served as a Chief Resident and studied the prevalence of parkinsonism in the oldest old with Claudia Kawas, MD. Currently, she participates in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with a variety of cognitive disorders in the clinic and through research. Her interests lie in the study of clinicopathologic correlations of neurodegenerative diseases that include a combination of cognitive and motor impairments, such as corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

Jamie Starks, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Jamie Starks joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in July 2016 as a clinical fellow in behavioral neurology. She completed medical school and neurology residency training at the University of Minnesota, where she served as a chief resident and co-director of the medical school’s neurology course in 2015 and 2016. Dr. Starks’ interests include education and dementia care models.

Emily Fox

Clinical Research Coordinator

Emily holds a bachelor of arts degree from UC Berkeley, where she majored in psychology and minored in Spanish. During her time at Berkeley she worked in the Gopnik Cognitive Development Lab looking at psychosocial cognition in young children and in the Hafter Lab of Auditory Perception studying semantic processing as it relates to hearing impairment and the development of hearing aids. At the Memory and Aging Center, Emily works primarily on a longitudinal study on healthy aging. Lead by Dr. Joel Kramer, this study looks at the multiplicity of factors that influence cognitive aging in older adults, from lifestyle factors to relevant biomarkers. Additionally, she coordinates a smaller study examining the effects of chronic inflammation on brain aging in healthy elderly individuals and in those with mild cognitive impairment. In her spare time, Emily enjoys practicing yoga and getting outdoors.

Jessica Deleon, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Jessica Deleon is a behavioral neurology fellow at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC). She focuses on care of patients with cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer's dementia and frontotemporal dementia. Prior to joining the MAC, she completed her medical degree, medicine internship and neurology residency at UCSF. Her research interests include neuroimaging and the neural basis of speech and language, using primary progressive aphasia (PPA) as a disease model. She also has an interest in the socioeconomic factors that influence dementia care.

Monroe Butler, MD, PhD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Butler trained in Boston where he completed graduate studies in philosophy and ethics prior to completing his medical and doctorate degrees. His dissertation research explored non-motor features of Parkinson’s disease. He joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2016 as a behavioral neurology fellow with an interest in studying the neuroscience of valuation and decision-making.

Michael Erkkinen, MD

Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Michael Erkkinen joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center team in July 2016 as a clinical fellow in behavioral neurology. He graduated from Dartmouth Medical School before completing his medical internship at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston. Before arriving at UCSF, he served as chief resident in neurology at the Partners Neurology Residency (combined Mass General-BWH program). Dr. Erkkinen is interested in understanding brain-behavior relationships as well as the neurobiological bases of speech, language and creativity. He sees patients with all forms of cognitive and behavioral disorders, both clinically and in the setting of ongoing research projects at the Memory and Aging Center.

Reilly Dever

Clinical Research Coordinator

Reilly graduated from the University of Washington in 2016 with a degree in psychology and a focus in cognitive neuroscience. During her time at the University of Washington, Reilly worked in the GENDAAR Lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, in conjunction with Harvard, Yale and UCLA. The study investigated the neurodevelopmental basis of autism spectrum disorder, and it fueled her desire to continue working in clinical neurological research. At the MAC, Reilly works with Dr. Bruce Miller and Dr. Howie Rosen to study familial frontotemporal dementia. In her free time, Reilly enjoys running, yoga, music and art, and exploring new places.

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