John A. Lucas, Ph.D., studies cognitive and memory changes across the spectrum from normal aging to dementia. He is a co-investigator in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and State of Florida Memory Disorders Clinic.
His research interests have focused primarily on improving the early detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease. He is also interested in the cognitive effects of surgical interventions for movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.
- Normal cognition in aging. Dr. Lucas and his colleagues have collected information on cognitive functions, such as learning, memory, language, problem solving and more, on large samples of normal older adults to better understand the effects of normal aging on thinking abilities.
- Normal aging and dementia in African-Americans. Dr. Lucas and his colleagues follow a cohort of more than 300 African-American elders on a yearly basis to identify and understand differences in the cognitive aging process and development of dementia between African-American and Caucasian older adults.
- Cognitive enhancement. Dr. Lucas and his colleagues are studying approaches to preventing or delaying cognitive decline and dementia in older patients through exercise, and improving cognition in patients undergoing surgical treatment for movement disorders through stimulation of brain regions believed to be important to thinking abilities.
Significance to patient care
Understanding and characterizing normal memory and thinking changes associated with advanced age helps improve the accuracy of our prediction of which patients are at higher risk of developing dementia. Identifying at-risk patients sooner will lead to earlier interventions and improved care management.
Understanding the similarities and differences in the cause and development of dementia in African-Americans compared with Caucasian elders could lead to more effective, population-specific interventions.
Identifying appropriate alternative interventions for cognitive decline will provide patients and health care workers with a larger number of potential tools to use when considering treatment of memory and other thinking difficulties.
- Vice President, American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, 2011-2013
- Associate Editor, The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 2011-present
- Editorial Board, Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 2011-present
- Chair, Science Advisory Committee, Clinical Neuropsychology Division (Div40) of the American Psychological Association, 2005-2011
- Chair, Membership Committee, National Academy of Neuropsychology, 2003-2006