Dr. Adler's research can be divided into four main categories. First, he is involved in leading the effort to clinically characterize a cohort of subjects who are enrolled in the Brain and Body Donation Program (BBDP) through the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders (AZSAND).
This program administers annual clinical evaluations for movement disorders, cognitive function, sleep and autonomic symptoms, and smell testing every third year. Evaluations are performed at multiple institutions in the Phoenix area including Mayo Clinic Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI). All subjects have agreed to submit to an autopsy at end of life and to donate their brains and other organs. Dr. Adler is one of the leaders of this program, which includes investigating early signs (clinical biomarkers) for the development of Parkinson's disease and dementia in Parkinson's disease.
Additionally, Dr. Adler collaborates with Thomas G. Beach, M.D., Ph.D., the overall principal investigator of the program, who is a neuropathologist at BSHRI, as well as multiple other neurologists and multiple laboratory-based scientists investigating the potential causes for Parkinson's disease, dementia in Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and restless legs syndrome.
A second main feature of Dr. Adler's research program is the investigation of normal and abnormal movement in various disorders. This includes studying hand movements and eye movements in patients with Parkinson's disease as well as muscle movement in golfers with and without golfer's cramp (the yips).
The third area of research is Dr. Adler's investigations into new treatments for multiple movement disorders. These include trials of new treatments being studied by pharmaceutical companies, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and single-site studies performed only at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona.
Finally, Dr. Adler is leading the effort to find clinical biomarkers for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus. This neurodegenerative disorder appears to be precipitated by repetitive head injuries. In collaboration with other centers in the U.S., Dr. Adler is studying blood, saliva, cerebrospinal fluid, brain MRIs, amyloid PET scans, and tau PET scans in former NFL and college football players, and controls.