2017 Alzheimer Award Goes to Shi-Jiang Li for Developing CARE Index

Janet Stewart, MSc avatar

by Janet Stewart, MSc |

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Prof. Shi-Jiang Li, PhD, is the recipient of the 2017 Alzheimer Award granted every year by the associate editors of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (JAD).

Li was singled out for his and his team’s outstanding work published in the journal about a new index called the “characterizing Alzheimer’s disease risk events” (CARE), which determines the severity of the disease in a patient and facilitates personalized treatment.

The winning study, “Staging Alzheimer’s Disease Risk by Sequencing Brain Function and Structure, Cerebrospinal Fluid, and Cognition Biomarkers,” was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease last year.

“The CARE index significantly correlates with disease severity and exhibits high reliability,” the authors of the study reported.

Li, a professor of biophysics, radiology, and psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and his colleagues developed the CARE index to identify the risks associated with stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and to measure disease severity in individuals. The index is based on 10 biomarkers measured by analyzing neuroimaging results, cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord), and cognitive performance.

“The CARE index constructed the main framework for biology-based [Alzheimer’s] stages and demonstrated that clinically diagnosed mild cognitive impairment subjects are biologically heterogeneous and are distributed across the [Alzheimer’s disease] continuum,” Li said in a press release.

“We believe the CARE index will have wide clinical applications,” he added. “If the temporal course of disease progression is consistent with biomarker-defined events in individuals, we will have a crucial window of opportunity to intervene with disease-modifying therapy.”

Prof. Li acknowledged the contributions of his co-authors and investigators from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, whose work helped shed light on the link between preclinical Alzheimer’s and “symptomatic onset that can be applied to accurately identify progressive [Alzheimer’s] trajectories. And I would like to thank the editors of the journal, who selected our paper among the hundreds published by the journal in 2016.”

Li has a long record of academic and scientific achievements, having earned his PhD in biochemistry from the Ohio State University in 1985 and completing his postdoctoral fellowship training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1988, the same year he joined the faculty of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

His research focuses on the development of cutting-edge MRI technologies to study Alzheimer’s disease, drug abuse, and human consciousness and on the clinical use of his findings. He is the author of more than 110 articles, books, and chapters.

“The associate editors and I are delighted that through this award we are able to recognize work that represents a major advancement in the use of biomarkers to more accurately diagnose, characterize and track the progression of [Alzheimer’s disease] and contribute to personalized care,” said George Perry, PhD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and dean of the College of Sciences and professor of biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The recipient of the Alzheimer’s Award is given the Alzheimer Medal, a three-inch bronze medal with an image of Alois Alzheimer, and a cash prize of $7,500. The award is made possible with support from IOS Press, which publishes the JAD.