Multiple PI of the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study

ACT is a Prospective cohort study of older adults enrolled from Kaiser Permanente Washington, which has extensive medical records available for participants, including laboratory and pharmacy data. We follow participants to measure cognition and identify incident cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and follow consenting participants to autopsy. The parent study focuses on cognitive decline, dementia, and autopsy findings. Currently funded linked studies focus on imaging, air pollution, eye conditions and retinal health, and traumatic brain injury in the ACT sample. DNA samples are also available and have been processed for several different genetics initiatives. Dr. Crane serves as a liaison to national and international genetics initiatives, including the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC) and the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP).

Psychometric Approaches to Cognitive Data

A major area of focus of Dr. Crane’s laboratory in the past few years has been applying modern psychometric methods to cognitive data from older adults. We are funded to serve as a psychometrics core to harmonize and co-calibrate memory, executive functioning, language, and visuospatial functioning for several different parent projects, particularly those planning to analyze genetic data together with cognitive data.

Cognitively-Defined Alzheimer’s Disease Subgroups

Clinical heterogeneity has long been described in Alzheimer’s disease. We focus in particular on contrasting performance in language, executive functioning, memory, and visuospatial abilities. To date, we have found considerable differences across different study cohorts in proportions with extreme patterns of relative deficits across these cognitive domains. We have found genetic and non-genetic risk factor differences across groups defined by these patterns of deficits. Our currently funded work focuses on additional genetic data and on imaging correlates, using data from a studies around the world including ACT and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).


Recent acknowledgment of this work has included recognition by an Alumni Early Achievement Award from the UW School of Medicine (2017) and recognition as a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate (2018), which indicates “world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science.”