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Research Priorities and Projects

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Sharon A. Brangman, MD, FACP, AGSF
Director, Nappi Longevity Institute

The Institute seeks to support promising studies, from basic science to clinical and translational research that are aligned with its mission and have the potential to significantly advance scientific discovery nationally. Learn more about our studies and projects, or contact us to collaborate.

Clinical Trials


Reducing Avoidable Medication Related Health Problems Among Older Adults in Long Term Care Settings

This project evaluates the impact on patient health outcomes by reviewing and reducing medications on a regular basis that are being used by patients receiving skilled care in nursing homes and at home. The process of intentionally stopping a medication or reducing its dose to improve a person’s health or reduce their risk of adverse drug events is called deprescribing.

This project focuses on 1,305 vulnerable older adults in long term care settings in Central New York and will determine whether deprescribing programs in these settings can reduce the number of  medications being taken and avoid adverse drug events and hospital/emergency room admissions while lowering Medicaid costs.
PI: Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics

Examining Diversity, Recruitment and Retention in Aging Research* 

This project engages diverse members of the community through outreach and focus groups to help understand and address potential barriers to the participation of older African Americans in research on cognition impairment. Older African Americans have higher rates of dementia than other older adults but are underrepresented in research projects designed to find the causes of and treatments for dementia. 

The project will engage community members on an ongoing basis to advise researchers on what methods are and are not effective for getting older African Americans to participate in research studies.
PI:  Mary Sano, PhD, Director of Alzheimer’s Research, Mount Sinai Medical School; Co-PI Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics

Virtual Health Library: Disseminating PCORI Findings to Patients with Dementia at the Point of Care

This project addresses the need for patients with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia and their caregivers to have access to up-to-date health information in a timely manner to help them have meaningful conversations with their providers and make the most informed decisions possible about their care.

The project will create a 'Virtual Health Library' (VHL) that uses technology to provide information to patients and their caregivers that is relevant to the patient's condition at the time of a medical appointment. Patients and caregivers will be able to read this information using their own computers or phones at home, or using tablets provided in the waiting room immediately before an appointment.

The project objectives are to configure a commonly used electronic medical record system to provide the technology support needed for the VHL and demonstrate how it can be integrated into a large geriatrics practice and add value to patients, caregivers and providers.
PI:  Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics

Early Identification of Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

Identifying cognitive decline early can help improve care management of those having dementia and help identify other, treatable causes of decline that are not dementia.  This pilot project trained a case manager for older adults living at home with support needs under the Onondaga County’s Office for Aging Resident Advisor Program in the use of a five-minute screening tool for cognitive impairment. The screening tool, the Mini-Cog©, is designed for use in clinical and community settings.

The project was successful in identifying and referring vulnerable adults for comprehensive exams.  Plans are underway to replicate the pilot across the County and with visiting nurses.
PI:  Maria Brown, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, Syracuse University School of Social Work; Co-PI Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics

Using virtual reality to provide inter-professional student education in Alzheimer’s disease

This pilot project will develop an innovative approach that uses virtual reality to educate medical, nursing and other students in how to care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

It will build a virtual health clinic on an existing platform called “Second Life.”  Students will enter the virtual clinic as avatars to interact with a patient with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregiver, both of whom will be programmed to educate the students about how to manage the challenges of this disease for patients and caregivers alike.
PI: Telisa Stewart, DrPH, Associate Professor, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine; Co-PI Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics

Basal Forebrain connections to the heart and mind in healthy aging*

This study will examine whether heart rate in humans and rats can predict the potential for cognitive decline.

This research may further advance the use of a noninvasive, low-cost digital biomarker to identify individuals who may progress to a stage of mild cognitive decline and ultimately to Alzheimer’s disease.
PI.: Eve DeRosa, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, CO-I Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics


Pupillary dynamics as a biomarker of locus coeruleus integrity and neurocognitive aging

This study evaluates whether movements in the pupil of the eye can serve as an early warning sign for mild cognitive disorder. 
PI: Eve DeRosa, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, CO-I Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics

Phase II Trial on BHV-41567 in Patients with Mild to Moderate Alzheimer’s disease

This clinical trial evaluates the impact and safety of using a potential new medication in reducing the symptoms of patients with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
PI Local Recruitment: Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics

Phase III Multicenter randomized double blind trial on the safety and efficacy of gantenerumab in participants with Alzheimer’s Disease

This study will determine if a potential new medication, gantenerumab, is effective and safe in reducing cognitive decline for persons with early to mild Alzheimer’s disease.
PI Local Recruitment: Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics

Memory Improvement through Nicotine Dosing Study (MIND)

This study will determine whether nicotine administered daily through the skin results in improvements in cognition and function in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
PI, Local Recruitment: Sharon Brangman, MD, Chair, Department of Geriatrics




* indicates pending funding

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