Scientist profiles S-Z
Sunnybrook Research Institute
Former Senior Scientist
Administrative Assistant: Thulasi Thiruchselvam
Phone: 416.480.6100, ext. 2846
- B.Sc. (Hons), 1971, Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada
- MA, 1972, Psychology, University of Windsor, Canada
- PhD, 1977, Psychology, University of Windsor, Canada
Appointments and Affiliations:
- Senior scientist, clinical integrative biology - Brain Sciences program, Sunnybrook Research Institute
- Professor, family and community medicine, faculty of medicine, University of Toronto
- Director, geriatric research unit, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
- Consultant clinical psychologist, long term care, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
- Professor, graduate department of community health and institute of medical sciences, faculty of medicine, University of Toronto
- Cognitive impairment in aging and dementia
The focus of my research is the early identification, differential diagnosis, care and treatment of older people with cognitive impairment and dementia. The following is a synopsis:
- Prediction of Alzheimer's disease in memory-impaired patients. Since 1991, we have conducted a longitudinal study examining clinical, cognitive, behavioural and genetic predictors of AD in memory-impaired patients. After two years of follow-up, we were able to predict with 89% accuracy who would or would not develop AD with two neuropsychological tests. Our Alzheimer Predictive Index has emerged from this work. We also examined the role of the e4 allele of the apolipoprotein gene (Apoe) in the prediction. We have examined the predictive utility of several other widely used behavioural and cognitive measures and developed brief test batteries that accurately predict the onset of AD.
- Differential diagnosis of dementing disorders. In a series of ongoing studies, we identified several neuropsychological tests that accurately distinguish among different forms of dementia, including AD, vascular disease and Parkinson's disease. In addition to improving the accuracy of diagnosis, these findings have also lead to an improved understanding of differences in brain functioning among individuals with dementia of different etiologies. We have also examined differences in serum fatty acids among dementia groups.
- Clinicopathological validation of diagnostic criteria for AD. In our laboratory, we were the first to demonstrate the validity of the prominent NINCDS-ADRDA work-group's diagnostic criteria for AD, which are now the most widely accepted international criteria for the diagnosis of AD. We also demonstrated the need to establish standards in the neuropathological diagnosis of the disease.
- Estrogen trial to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease in memory-impaired women. We are using our Alzheimer Predictive Index derived from our earlier studies to identify memory-impaired nondemented women in a randomized placebo-controlled trial examining the effectiveness of estrogen in delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease. This trial is ongoing.
- The safety of cognitively impaired seniors who live alone. The Safety Study is designed to predict who among cognitively impaired people who live alone are likely to experience significant harm as a result of their cognitive impairment. We have developed several predictive models to identify high-risk seniors. This study is ongoing.
- Tierney, M.C. Prediction of probable Alzheimer’s disease: the Sunnybrook Memory Study. (in press) In Perspectives on Mild Cognitive Impairment. H. Tuokko and Hultsch, D. (eds.).
- Tierney, MC, Herrmann, N, Geslani, D & Szalai, JP. (2004) The prediction of probable Alzheimer’s disease using the Mini-Mental State Examination with informant and patient ratings. Research and Practice in Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Decline, Vol. 9.
- Tierney, M.C., Charles, J. The care and treatment of people with dementia and cognitive impairment: an update. (2002) In Writings in Gerontology: Mental Health and Aging. National Advisory Council on Aging, Ottawa.
- Tierney, M.C. Reaching a diagnosis of dementia: neuropsychological assessment. (2002) In Evidence-Based Dementia Practice. N. Qizilbash, L. Schneider, H. Chui, P. Tariot, H. Brodaty, J. Kaye, T. Erkinjuntti (eds.), Blackwell Science, Oxford UK.
- Tierney, M.C. Reaching a diagnosis of dementia subtype: neuropsychological assessment. (2002) In Evidence-Based Dementia Practice. N. Qizilbash, L. Schneider, H. Chui, P. Tariot, H. Brodaty, J. Kaye, T. Erkinjuntti (eds.), Blackwell Science Oxford, UK.
Related News and Stories:
- Don't Overdo It: Brain researcher teases apart relationship between exercise and dementia (Spring 2011)
- HRT Prevents Memory Decline, Says Study: Study suggests older women with normal memory abilities may benefit from the protective effects of estrogen (March 27, 2009)
- Risk Factors Identified to Predict Harm in Older Cognitive Patients (February 1, 2007)