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Research at NCIRE

NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Deborah E. Barnes, PhD

Staff Researcher, Mental Health Service, SFVAHCS
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology & Biostatistics, UCSF

Trying to Predict and Prevent Dementia

Dr. Barnes studies ways to predict and prevent cognitive impairment and dementia in older adults, including Veterans. Her work has three major themes. The first is trying to identify those who are at the highest risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia. To better address that question, she has created several toold that can be used to predict dementia risk in clinical and research settings. Dr. Barnes's second major theme is studying ways to prevent dementia by identifying important risk factors. he is interested in whether lifestyle changes, such as being more physically active, more mentally active, and staying socially engaged, can make a difference in delaying or even preventing cognitive impairment and dementia among the elderly. To that end, she is conducting research aimed at identifying health and behavioral factors that are associated with risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia. In older Veterans, she has found that factors such as traumatic brain injury and having been a prisoner of war are associated with increased risk of developing dementia. Third, Dr. Barnes is studying ways to minimize symptoms in those who develo cognitive impairment and dementia. In partnership with the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, she has developed a new integrative exercise program called Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise. Her pilot study results suggest that the program may improve physical function, cognitive function, quality of life and caregiver burden in people with dementia, and she is planning on studying the program in older Veterans.

To find out more about Dr. Barnes and her work, click here.

To see Dr. Barnes on Pub Med, click here.