| Turken Research Award and Lecture | Meet a Young Researcher | Welcome Melissa Taylor |
| Dear Doc… | Clinical Trials | Upcoming Event |
Turken Research Award and Lecture
Phyllis Turken Shamberg initiated a gift in 1991 to support the early careers of UCLA researchers interested in studying Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The funds came from a family Foundation established in honor of her parents, Sam and Ida Turken. Her gift became a legacy to UCLA research known as the "Turken Research Award", now given annually to support a promising scientist as they pursue major grant support and scientific independence. The 2011 Turken Researcher Award went to Dr. Meredith Braskie for her work on how AD risk factors relate to brain function and structure. Dr. Braskie is working under the mentorship of Paul Thompson, PhD and John Ringman, MD, MS. Dr. Braskie's award was presented by Phyllis' daughter Beth Devermont and Susan Galeas of the Southern California Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
As a highlight of Turken Day an international lecture is awarded. This year, Thomas Montine, MD, PhD, gave a lecture titled "Ecology of the Aging Brain." Dr. Montine is the Alvord Endowed Chair in Neuropathology and Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington.
Click here to view more information regarding the Turken Research Award Day.
Meet A Young Researcher In The Making
My name is Marc Pakravan. I am in the tenth grade at Milken Community High School where I am part of the Science Research program at the Mitchell Academy of Science and Technology. In this program, each student conducts research in an area of interest with a professional researcher in that field. This year I have regularly met with Dr. Joshua Grill to better understand research in the area of Alzheimer's disease.
As part of this program, I was privileged to recently have the opportunity to attend a brain pathology session led by Dr. Harry Vinters, Chief of Neuropathology at UCLA. This was a unique educational opportunity where I was able to observe the intricacies of a human brain. It was very interesting to watch how researchers analyze a brain affected by a neurological disease.
I look forward to continuing my research of Alzheimer's disease with Dr. Grill and other researchers at the Easton Center.
The Easton Center Welcomes a New Director of Operations, Ms. Melissa Taylor
I am very pleased to join the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA as Director of Operations. This was a position previously held by Karen Metz, MA, who retired at the end of 2011. My career with the University has encompassed the areas of finance and fund management at various campus organizational levels, Chief Administrative Officer for the Center for Performing Arts and, most recently, Director of Human Resources for the School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology. The Easton Center is such a vital program in addressing the healthcare needs of our aging population. The opportunity to support our faculty, research coordinators, and staff in the pursuit of better understanding and eventual cure of this disease is indeed exciting and fulfilling.
*Melissa Taylor can be contacted via email at
A friend sent me an Internet story on a new breakthrough in treating Alzheimer's disease, inhaled insulin. Is this something I should be giving my wife?
Thanks very much for your question. You are absolutely correct to seek further information any time you see something on the Internet or hear about a new breakthrough. Although we're working very hard to find new treatments for AD and other dementias, breakthroughs don’t come as often as we would like.
When you hear about new treatments, the question we must ask is whether there has been a well-¬designed, well-¬conducted study to support the use of this new treatment? Even better would be: Have there been multiple well-¬designed, well--conducted studies to support the use of this new treatment?
In the case of inhaled insulin, there has indeed been a well-¬designed, well--conducted initial study that suggested benefit to memory performance (relative to placebo) in Alzheimer's disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment (Craft et al. 2011, Archives Neurology). Small but significant symptomatic benefits were observed for memory and function, but the trial was only 4 months long. These findings are a cause for optimism about the potential for inhaled insulin as a treatment, but larger and longer studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results. We hope to see further high-¬quality studies of inhaled insulin soon, and we'll report back to you in this newsletter as new results become available. Until then, it's too soon to recommend that you or anyone else try insulin inhalers for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Joshua Grill, PhD and Edmond Teng, MD, PhD
Mary S. Easton Center Investigators
Please send us your questions via email to
We look forward to hearing from you!
Clinical Research Opportunities
If you would like to advance Alzheimer's disease research, please consider participating at the Easton Center. Below are two current trials. For a complete list of enrolling studies, visit our website at www.eastonad.ucla.edu.
Alzheimer's Disease NeuroImaging Initiative (ADNI):
Nerve Growth Factor Gene Delivery for Alzheimer's Disease: