Participate in a Study

As Orange County’s only state and federally funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, UCI MIND is at the forefront of Alzheimer’s disease research. We have a variety of research participation opportunities for older adults with and without memory concerns. Click the tabs below to learn about our current research studies and clinical trials or contact our research team:

Phone: 949.824.0008


Lead researcher: Aimee L. Pierce, MD

Location: UCI Campus (UCI MIND Gottschalk Medical Plaza, ICTS in Hewitt Hall, Newport Diagnostic Center)

Purpose: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of an investigational medication to determine whether it can slow the progression of symptoms in early Alzheimer’s disease


  • 50 to 85 years of age
  • Experiencing symptoms that might be related to early Alzheimers’ disease, such as problems with memory or thinking clearly
  • Have someone who can be your study partner to accompany you to certain appointments and provide information about your health

Time commitment: If you are eligible for the treatment phase, you will receive placebo or the investigational medication and have 32 visits over the course of up to 78 weeks.

Compensation: If eligible, all study medication, examinations, and medical care related to the study will be provided at no cost to you. Reasonable compensation for time and travel may be provided.

Contact name: Beatriz Yanez, RN
Phone: 949.824.0008


Lead researcher: Aimee L. Pierce, MD

Location: UCI Campus (UCI MIND Gottschalk Medical Plaza, ICTS in Hewitt Hall, Newport Diagnostic Center, Newport Mesa YMCA, Huntington Beach Family YMCA)

Purpose: To evaluate whether 18 months of moderate to high intensity exercise will improve cognition in older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).

Eligibility: Adult participants ages 65 to 89 years old who have been diagnosed with MCI

Time commitment: You will be asked to complete a total of 7 clinic visits over the course of the study and participate in a structured exercise program 4 days a week for 18 months. The total time commitment is 20 months.

Anticipated benefits: You will receive an 18 month membership to the YMCA. Participating in the exercise program may or may not improve your condition. The information collected from this study may increase knowledge regarding the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and help people in the future.

Compensation: You are eligible to receive the following compensation in cash during the course of this study:

  • $100 for each completed MRI scan; there are 2 MRI scans ($200 max).
  • $75 for each completed lumbar puncture (optional) ($150 max).
  • $75 for completing the baseline clinical visit, $50 for completing the month 12 clinical visit and $25 for completing the month 18 clinical visit ($150 max)
  • Total compensation for this study is a maximum of $500 in cash
  • Participants will not be reimbursed for travel-related expenses

Contact name: Beatriz Yanez, RN
Phone: 949.824.0008


The Longitudinal Study follows people with and without memory problems annually until the end of life.  Through their lifetime commitment to research, our volunteers help us increase knowledge about memory and aging.  For example, they help us understand:

  • Differences between people who develop cognitive problems leading to Alzheimer’s disease and those who do not
  • The role of lifestyle strategies, like regular exercise, in reducing risk for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Changes in biomarkers that foreshadow Alzheimer’s disease and could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment
What’s involved?

Expert clinicians conduct a comprehensive annual evaluation that includes:

  • Physical and neurological exams
  • Paper and pencil tests to assess memory and other cognitive abilities
  • Interview with a study partner
  • Blood draw and skin biopsy
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Genetic testing

Feedback is provided in a family conference and/or a report, as most appropriate. Upon death, with the family’s permission, we perform a brain autopsy and provide final confirmation of the diagnosis.

Am I eligible to participate?

Our investigators seek participants who meet the following criteria:

  • Age 60 or older
  • Are aging normally, without any cognitive difficulties, or have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), early Alzheimer’s disease, or another dementia
  • Have a close family member or friend who can answer questions about the participant’s daily living skills
  • Are willing to participate in various research studies on brain aging that involve skin biopsy, neuroimaging and lumbar puncture
  • Are willing to donate the brain upon death (may be waived for religious or cultural reasons)

To determine eligibility, one of our research coordinators will interview you by phone and may ask you to complete some paperwork and/or come into the clinic for an in-person screening.

Is there any cost?

There is no charge to participate in any of our research studies.

What are the benefits of participating in research?

As one of our longitudinal study participants, you will benefit from:

  • Free comprehensive annual evaluations from experts, who will provide feedback and recommendations to your primary care physician, should you want them
  • Early detection of cognitive changes in healthy older adults that could respond to treatment or may signal the development of Alzheimer’s disease or another disorder
  • Annual monitoring of cognition, behavior, and daily functioning in participants with Alzheimer’s disease or another disorder to aid the family in management and planning
  • Access to treatments in development before they are widely available
  • The gratification of helping advance knowledge of brain aging aging and neurodegenerative disease
How do I join?

If you are interested in joining the Longitudinal Study or would like more information, contact 949.824.3249 or


A couple at a parkWhat is the Successful Aging Program?

The Successful Aging Program is dedicated to advancing knowledge about the cognitive and physiological changes that occur in aging.  Since 1989, hundreds of older adults have contributed their time and effort to helping scientists explore healthy brain aging.

Who can join the Successful Aging Program?

Healthy men and women age 65 and older who are English-speaking, willing to be followed across multiple years, and willing to consent to brain donation can join.

What are the requirements to participate?
  • We ask that you come in once a year to complete comprehensive physical, neurological, and neuropsychological evaluations.
  • You must have a “study partner” who knows you well (e.g., spouse, adult child, close friend) and can attend the appointments to answer questions about your mood and everyday functional abilities (e.g., meal preparation, performing household chores, handling finances).
  • We ask that you agree to donate your brain at time of death so scientists can investigate the microscopic brain changes taking place as we age. On rare occasions, this requirement may be waived for those with cultural and/or religious oppositions.
  • There is an increasing opportunity to perform biological studies of brain health through additional measures such as genetic testing, skin biopsies, neuroimaging, and lumbar puncture. Only persons willing to consider these additional research measures are currently being enrolled.
What can I expect when I come in for my appointment?

The comprehensive annual evaluation, which is performed by a team of highly qualified medical and research professionals, takes approximately 4 to 4.5 hours to complete and includes the following three components:

  • General physical exam that includes a review of your medical history and medications and taking vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, pulse rate, height, weight)
  • Neurological exam of your sensory and motor functioning, gait, balance, and coordination to detect any signs of stroke, metabolic disorders, or degenerative diseases
  • Cognitive or neuropsychological assessment of your recent memory and other mental abilities (e.g., orientation, attention, language, visual-spatial, problem solving, and reasoning skills)
What is my study partner doing during my appointment?

While you are completing the physical, neurological, and neuropsychological examinations, your study partner is interviewed about your mood, everyday living skills, and overall well-being. This interview takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes to complete, and once finished, your study partner is not required to stay for the remainder of your assessment.

Is there any cost to participate in this program?

There is no cost to you.

What if I no longer wish to participate?

Participation is voluntary and you can withdraw from the program at any time.

What are the benefits to participating in the Successful Aging Program?
  • Contributing to the advancement of medical science: Findings from your annual evaluations will help scientists to better understand the normal aging process and understand risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Opportunities to participate in additional research studies: Although not required, older adults being followed in the Successful Aging Program may participate in a variety of studies (e.g., brain imaging, surveys about exercise, and focus groups) being conducted by UCI-affiliated researchers.
  • Monitoring Your Health Status: Each year, after your evaluation, our clinical team will provide you with a detailed report that enables you to monitor your health from year-to-year.  Should we detect any change in your physical and/or cognitive functioning, we will notify you, attempt to determine the underlying cause, and recommend appropriate follow-up steps.
How do I sign up?

To enroll in the Successful Aging Program, please contact 949.824.3249 or


Down syndrome is the most common cause of genetically-determined intellectual disability in the United States, affecting approximately 1 in 700 live births.  An estimated 350,000 Americans have Down syndrome.   Also called trisomy 21, Down syndrome results from a tripling of all or part of the 21st chromosome.  The association between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease was established in 1948. Since then, we’ve learned that by approximately age 40, essentially all individuals with trisomy 21 have the characteristic amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about the UCI MIND Down Syndrome Program contact:

Eric Doran, MS
Manager, Down Syndrome Program
UC Irvine Medical Center


What is The 90+ Study?

The 90+ Study is a research study to examine successful aging and dementia in those aged 90 years and beyond.

Who can join?

People 90 years or older who live in Southern California and are willing to undergo study procedures.

What is involved?
  • One-time MRI and amyloid PET imaging of the brain
  • Examinations and clinical assessment every 6 months
    • One hour of testing your memory and thinking skills
    • One hour neurological and physical exam
    • Review of medical and family histories and medications
    • Examinations and clinical assessment every 6 months
  • Brain donation upon death
Where do I have to go?

Clinical exams take place in the research office in Laguna Woods, CA or in your own home. Brain imaging is done in centers in Irvine and Newport Beach, CA. Transportation is provided if necessary.

What will The 90+ Study cost?

There is no cost to you. The 90+ Study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

What is Involved?

With your participation in The 90+ Study, we hope to learn ways to improve quality of life for people as they grow older. Your participation may help others reach 90 years of age and beyond in better health.

Contact us today to get started!

Study Website:
Phone: 949.768.3635
Address: 24361 El Toro Road Suite 150, Laguna Woods, CA 92867