Dr. Reisa Sperling, the director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Remondi Family Distinguished Chair in Neurology at Brigham & Women's Hospital, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) for her pioneering clinical research that revolutionized the concept of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Sperling’s work has fundamentally changed the way the scientific community thinks about AD, generating compelling evidence that there is a long preclinical (presymptomatic) phase of the disease, marked by the accumulation of early AD pathology, that begins more than a decade prior to clinically evident symptoms. Her early studies utilized functional MRI to elucidate the earliest changes in synaptic function and neural networks that underlie memory impairment in aging and early AD. Her foundational work in the Harvard Aging Brain Study combines molecular PET imaging of amyloid and tau pathology and innovative neuropsychological measures to predict and track cognitive decline in the preclinical stages of AD. She has made seminal contributions to the design of disease-modifying trials across the spectrum of AD, including the recognition of amyloid related imaging abnormalities (ARIA) and the importance of treating much earlier in the pathophysiological process of AD. In addition to being one of a very small number of women at the top of her field, Dr. Sperling has also translated the cutting-edge findings from her observational studies into pioneering prevention trials that are likely to revolutionize the future treatment of AD.

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) elected 90 regular members and 10 international members during its annual meeting. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. New members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. 

Read the NAM announcement