Dementia Epidemiology Research Group

The dementia epidemiology research group conducts research relating to cognitive function and dementia in aging populations throughout the United States. A primary focus is determining predictors and outcomes of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. This is particularly important in a population where the lifetime risk of dementia ranges from 20% for men to 33% for women, with even higher lifetime risks for milder forms of cognitive impairment.

With primary research goals of understanding the mechanisms that cause cognitive decline, identifying novel risk factors for cognitive impairment, and looking for strategies to prevent and treat cognitive disorders, the group works to improve the outlook of cognitive aging. An additional focus of our group is conceptualization and characterization of Healthy Brain Aging.

Some of our current funded research projects include:

  • Identifying comprehensive risk factors for mild cognitive impairment and dementia among community-dwelling elderly women in their 9th and 10th decades of life.
  • Identifying cognitive trajectories, their predictors and outcomes among elderly men and women in their 9th and 10th decades of life, and determining factors associated with maintaining optimal cognitive function.
  • Investigating the association between sleep dysfunction and cognitive impairment in a large prospective study.
  • Determining how PTSD and traumatic brain injury contribute to the risk of developing dementia in old age.
  • Determining the association between chronic renal insufficiency and cognitive impairment in a large multi-site prospective study.
  • Determining the association between behavioral disturbances such as hallucinations, agitation and depression and cognitive decline. We are studying ways to treat these symptoms (both pharmacologically and behaviorally) and trying to understand why they often lead to poor outcomes.
  • Assessing whether staying active, either physically or mentally, is a strategy to prevent cognitive decline.
  • Investigating how diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors may contribute to accelerated cognitive aging.


Alzheimer’s Association
BrightFocus Foundation
Department of Defense
National Institute on Aging
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases
National Institute of Mental Health 

Recent Publications

  • Yaffe, K., A.M. Laffan, S.L. Harrison, S. Redline, A.P. Spira, K.E. Ensrud, S. Ancoli-Israel, and K.L. Stone, Sleep-disordered breathing, hypoxia, and risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia in older women. JAMA, 2011. 306(6): p. 613-9.  » ABSTRACT
  • Yaffe, K., K. Lindquist, A.V. Schwartz, C. Vitartas, E. Vittinghoff, S. Satterfield, E.M. Simonsick, L. Launer, C. Rosano, J.A. Cauley, and T. Harris, Advanced glycation end product level, diabetes, and accelerated cognitive aging. Neurology, 2011. 77(14): p. 1351-6.  
  • Whitmer, R.A., C.P. Quesenberry, J. Zhou, and K. Yaffe, Timing of hormone therapy and dementia: the critical window theory revisited.
    Ann Neurol, 2011. 69(1): p. 163-9.

  • Yaffe, K., A. Weston, N.R. Graff-Radford, S. Satterfield, E.M. Simonsick, S.G. Younkin, L.H. Younkin, L. Kuller, H.N. Ayonayon, J. Ding, and T.B. Harris, Association of plasma beta-amyloid level and cognitive reserve with subsequent cognitive decline. JAMA, 2011. 305(3): p. 261-6.
  • Yaffe, K., E. Vittinghoff, K. Lindquist, D. Barnes, K.E. Covinsky, T. Neylan, M. Kluse, and C. Marmar, Posttraumatic stress disorder and risk of dementia among US veterans. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2010. 67(6): p. 608-13.

  • Weinstein, A.M., C. Barton, L. Ross, J.H. Kramer, and K. Yaffe, Treatment practices of mild cognitive impairment in California Alzheimer's Disease Centers. J Am Geriatr Soc, 2009. 57(4): p. 686-90.

  • Yaffe, K., A.J. Fiocco, K. Lindquist, E. Vittinghoff, E.M. Simonsick, A.B. Newman, S. Satterfield, C. Rosano, S.M. Rubin, H.N. Ayonayon, and T.B. Harris, Predictors of maintaining cognitive function in older adults: the Health ABC study. Neurology, 2009. 72(23): p. 2029-35. 
  • Middleton, L.E. and K. Yaffe, Promising strategies for the prevention of dementia. Arch Neurol, 2009. 66(10): p. 1210-5.

  • Barnes, D.E., T. Blackwell, K.L. Stone, S.E. Goldman, T. Hillier, and K. Yaffe, Cognition in older women: the importance of daytime movement. J Am Geriatr Soc, 2008. 56(9): p. 1658-64.

  • Barton, C., J. Sklenicka, P. Sayegh, and K. Yaffe, Contraindicated medication use among patients in a memory disorders clinic. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother, 2008. 6(3): p. 147-52.
  • Mehta, K.M., K. Yaffe, E.J. Perez-Stable, A. Stewart, D. Barnes, B.F. Kurland, and B.L. Miller, Race/ethnic differences in AD survival in US Alzheimer's Disease Centers. Neurology, 2008. 70(14): p. 1163-70.

  • Yaffe, K., K. Lindquist, M.G. Shlipak, E. Simonsick, L. Fried, C. Rosano, S. Satterfield, H. Atkinson, B.G. Windham, and M. Kurella-Tamura, Cystatin C as a marker of cognitive function in elders: findings from the health ABC study. Ann Neurol, 2008. 63(6): p. 798-802.

  • Yaffe, K., Treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with dementia. N Engl J Med, 2007. 357(14): p. 1441-3.

  • Barnes, D.E., G.S. Alexopoulos, O.L. Lopez, J.D. Williamson, and K. Yaffe, Depressive symptoms, vascular disease, and mild cognitive impairment: findings from the Cardiovascular Health Study. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2006. 63(3): p. 273-9. 

  • Sink, K.M., K.F. Holden, and K. Yaffe, Pharmacological treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia: a review of the evidence. JAMA, 2005. 293(5): p. 596-608. 
  • Yaffe, K., A. Kanaya, K. Lindquist, E.M. Simonsick, T. Harris, R.I. Shorr, F.A. Tylavsky, and A.B. Newman, The metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and risk of cognitive decline. JAMA, 2004. 292(18): p. 2237-42. 


UCSF Faculty 

Kristine Yaffe, MD
PI / Director 

Deborah Barnes, PhD
Research Faculty 

Cindy Barton, RN, MSN
Nurse Practitioner 
Amy Byers, PhD
Research Faculty 

Investigators and Key Staff

Cherie Falvey, MPH
Research Associate

Nathan Hamilton, MA
Tina Hoang, MPH
Research Associate

Alain Koyama, MS
Research Associate

Alice Stader, MA 
Clinical Research Manager 

Michael Stick, LVN 
Program Support

Jerin Ullah, MS

Eric Vittinghoff, PhD
Senior Biostatistician 
Jennifer Yokoyama, PhD
Research Fellow 

Adina Zeki al Hazzouri, PhD
Research Fellow


Interview with Dr. Yaffe
UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC)
San Francisco VA Medical Center
Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health

Principal Investigators


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service