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    Leading Alzheimer’s Clinician-Scientist and Educator Named Inaugural Research Chair for CPMC’s Ray Dolby Brain Health Center

    News Release
    Contact: Dean Fryer -- 415-600-7484 or pager 415-232-6463

    San Francisco, CA, February 2, 2015 - The Ray Dolby Brain Health Center at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), a Sutter Health affiliate, built upon its already impressive reputation for patient care this week with the news that an internationally renowned Alzheimer’s disease clinician-scientist and educator will lead the Center’s clinical and discovery research into healthy brain aging, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease and memory disorders.

    Alireza Atri, M.D., Ph.D., has been named the Ray Dolby Endowed Chair in Brain Health Research, and will serve as the director of research and education at the center, and as senior scientist at the CPMC Research Institute (CPMCRI). Dr. Atri will work closely with CPMCRI Director of Research Michael Rowbotham, M.D.

    “The Bay Area is so fortunate to entice a clinician-researcher with the depth of knowledge and devotion evident in Dr. Atri,” said Ray Dolby Brain Health Center Director, Catherine Madison, M.D. “We look forward to his work advancing the delivery of evidence-based care for our patients and helping us all address the epidemic of dementia.”

    Rachelle S. Doody, M.D.,Ph.D., Effie Marie Cain Chair in Alzheimer’s disease research and director of the Alzheimer’s disease and memory disorders center at Baylor College of Medicine-Department of Neurology, said, “Dr. Atri brings tremendous clinical excellence and a rare dedication to research-based patient care to the Center. He is poised to lead the group in providing standard care while advancing new treatment approaches, which will translate into new options for patients in the region. Dr. Atri will continue to advance the field of AD therapeutics research while training an array of care providers to deliver care in the future.”

    Dr. Atri joins CPMC from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical in Boston, where he led the MIND BrAIN Laboratory in the Department of Neurology and the MGH/Harvard-MIT Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Dr. Atri, a graduate of U.C.L.A., U.C.S.F. and Harvard Medical School, is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and is a cognitive neurologist specializing in the care of people with memory disorders and dementias—particularly those with early stage cognitive changes and young or early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

    Dr. Atri conducts research and leads clinical trials aimed at improving patient outcomes and the quality of life for people with age-related cognitive or memory disorders, and dementias. He and colleagues published the first long-term study to show sustained benefits of medication combinations to slow clinical decline in Alzheimer’s disease. Through his research, Dr. Atri has investigated vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia, and has developed non-invasive biomarker techniques and neuroimaging advances to improve the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. More recently his group has studied the novel concept of brain and cognitive “reserves”—characteristics and neurologic capacities that confer individuals with resilience to functionally withstand the effects of brain damage, disruption and disease.

    “It is a great honor to serve as the inaugural Ray Dolby Chair in Brain Health Research,” Dr. Atri said. “I’m extremely grateful to the Dolby Family – for their progressive activism, altruism and generosity – to enable this opportunity to work with such fantastic, passionate, and like-minded colleagues at the Center and CPMC; and to have the necessary support, commitment and environment that will help build a comprehensive research and education program of excellence to fit the core mission of the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center.”

    As a lead investigator for international Alzheimer’s disease treatment trial programs, Dr. Atri studies new therapies for cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. Working closely with Dr. Madison and the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center team, Dr. Atri will establish new clinical trial opportunities at CPMC; further establish local partnerships with U.C.S.F. in Bay Area treatment trials, cohorts, and epidemiological studies; and broaden clinical trial opportunities for patients using Sutter Health’s extensive neuroscience programs throughout northern California.

    An eminent medical educator and author, Dr. Atri will also expand the Center’s education and outreach programs to provide regional, national and international education programs to clinicians, researchers and caregivers on healthy cognitive aging, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

    “Few of us will be spared the personal effects of cognitive changes and—what is increasingly recognized as the scourge of our time—dementia,” Dr. Atri said. “The Bay Area is a hub for innovation, collaboration, community and progress. We need the same spirit, drive and approach to successfully overcome the complex challenges of brain aging and dementia. With the vision of the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center, I believe with perseverance we can significantly ameliorate the significant health and social impacts of dementia.”

    About Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

    Nearly 6 million Americans, and approximately half a million Californians, are affected by Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or a related memory disorder. Without more effective treatments to further slow decline or prevent the emergence of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or these disorders, it is estimated that the number of affected people will triple over the next two to three decades, draining national resources, and causing an epidemic of dementia.

    About the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center

    The Ray Dolby Brain Health Center—a collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California created to provide patient care, education, and research in the area of memory loss—opened its doors in 2012. Since then, thousands of San Francisco Bay Area residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease have received treatment and support. One of the only programs of its kind in Northern California, the Center began with a creative spark from Dr. Madison—an innovative idea to expand care for individuals and families affected by brain illnesses, beyond the standard treatment approach. Read more about specific programs and initiatives at the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center.

    About California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) - A Sutter Health Affiliate

    At San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center, we believe in the power of medicine. We research the most up-to-date treatments, hire the most qualified individuals, and practice the most modern, innovative medicine available. We deliver the highest-quality expert care with kindness and compassion in acute, post-acute and outpatient services, as well as preventive and complementary medicine. As one of California’s largest private, community-based, not-for-profit, teaching medical centers, and a Sutter Health affiliate, we are able to reach deep into our community to provide education, screening and financial support in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Like us on Facebook, watch us on YouTube and follow us on Twitter. For more information visit our web site at