Dr. John Breitner

John Breitner is a geriatric psychiatrist and epidemiologist who has devoted his career to studies on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), its risk factors and their implications for its prevention.  His academic record includes a period as Chair of the Department of Mental Health (psychiatric epidemiology and services research) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at both Duke University and the University of Washington (Seattle) and as Director of the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centre at the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System (Seattle).  Dr. Breitner has authored more than 250 scientific publications (H-index 66) and has mentored more than a dozen young investigators who have gone on to tenure-track academic positions.  He is also an active clinician, but he is best known as a researcher.  His early work demonstrated the presence of strong familial aggregation in ‘sporadic’ AD.  This observation led to twin studies of the heritability of AD and of its environmental risk factors.  Dr. Breitner was founding director of the Cache County Study of Memory in Aging, a longitudinal study of genetic and environmental antecedents of AD, which has produced over 100 scientific papers including important works on the population risk of AD associated with the risk gene APOE ε4.  In the prior decade he chaired of the Alzheimer’s Disease Anti-inflammatory Prevention Trial (ADAPT), a randomized controlled trial to evaluate nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as agents for the primary prevention of AD in healthy elderly people.  Specimen banking and analysis in this trial (including CSF) produced novel findings suggesting a possible neuroprotective treatment effect of naproxen as measured by AD biomarkers.  In 2010 Breitner joined the McGill faculty as Canada Research Chair in Prevention of Dementia and Pfizer Chair in Dementia Research.  He became Director of a new Centre for Studies on Prevention of AD (StoP-AD) at the Douglas Mental Health Research Institute.  This Centre, which he continues to lead, is devoted to identification and quantitation of markers of AD in its pre-symptomatic stages, and to the preliminary testing of experimental strategies for the use of these markers to reveal drugs that may prevent the progression of pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease toward its later, symptomatic stages.

Dr. John Breitner Grants