Cognitive/Geriatric Neurology Division

Cognitive/Geriatric Neurology Division

Friedland, Robert P.


Dr Friedland is a clinical and research neurologist interested in behavior and aging who is frustrated by the lack of highly effective therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. His work is focused on clinical and biological issues in the disease using a diversity of approaches. The first reports of abnormal patterns of brain structure, metabolism and cerebral blood flow in Alzheimer’s disease using positron emission and magnetic resonance computed tomography came from his group at the University of California, Berkeley. While at the National Institutes of Health Dr Friedland’s group contributed early studies of driving performance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. More recently, Dr. Friedland has worked on patterns of disease occurrence and risk and protective factors, involving Kikuyu in Kenya, Jews and Arabs in Israel and Caucasian and African-American subjects in the USA. His group has documented important determinants of the disease, including physical and mental inactivity, smoking and diet. This work is focused on interactions of genetic and environmental lifestyle factors and uncovering new disease genes. As much as 50% of the inherited risk of getting the disease is currently unknown, and new genes may provide ways to develop treatments. Dr. Friedland’s group contributed to a report of a novel Alzheimer gene which has been found to be linked to the disease in Arab subjects studied in Israel, as well as in people from 3 other populations worldwide. His work has led to a Health Literacy Program to enhancing public awareness of the disease and how lifestyle modifications influence risk. Dr Friedland and colleagues are also using animal models to define the biology of the disease better and develop new treatments. Work is underway on the role of immune factors in the disease and development of new vaccination and antibody treatments.


Dr. Friedland has authored or coauthored over 200 scientific publications and has current research funding from the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging), as well as several foundations, institutes, corporations and families.

 

Research Interests

Dr. Friedland’s work has focused on clinical and biological issues in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. He was the first to document patterns of abnormal brain metabolism and cerebral blood flow in the disease using positron emission and single photon emission computed tomography. He also contributed the initial studies of magnetic resonance imaging in dementia. The first studies of driving behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s disease came from his group at the NIH. Dr. Friedland has also worked on the patterns of disease occurrence and risk and protective factors, with studies of the Kikuyu in Kenya, Jews and Arabs in Israel, Caucasian and African-American subjects in Ohio and Mexican and European American subjects in Texas. He has documented a series of important determinants of the disease, including physical and mental inactivity, smoking, obesity, and diet. This work has focused on interactions of genetic and environmental lifestyle elements. These studies have led to a National Health Literacy Program working to enhance public awareness about the disease and how lifestyle modifications may influence risk. His group also participated in the discovery of the important Alzheimer’s disease risk factor gene, SORL1. Animal models have been used by Dr Frieldand and his collaborators to better define the biological mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease in order to develop new treatments. The first demonstration of catalytic antibodies targeting the Alzheimer amyloid Beta protein in the blood was published by his group in 2007. In 2008 Dr Friedland and colleagues reported the first demonstration of a possible interaction involving molecular mimicry between protective anti-amyloid antibodies and exposure to a plant virus. Current studies are devoted to developing immunological approaches to the treatment of both Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases.

 

Academic and Community Education Activities

1. On Sep 17, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza we hosted a meeting for the community called “The Journey: Alzheimer’s Disease and Caregiving”. The session was attended by about 120 persons, many of whom were family caregivers. The talks were well received by the audience and there were many questions asked during the Q&A session as well as during the lunch break. The links below are video recordings of the talks. We plan to continue to host such educational meetings regarding Alzheimer disease and other dementias for the community each year.

Alzheimer Meeting Sep 17th 2011 Agenda Download PDF (453KB)

  1. Opening Remarks (Suhas Kulkarni and Helen Lang): http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/OpeningRemarks1.asx
  2. Dr Obisesan: http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/Obiesesan1.asx
  3. Dr Robert Friedland: http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/Friedland1.asx
  4. Dr. Karen Robinson: http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/Robinson1.asx
  5. Dr Dee Antimisiaris: http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/Antimisiaris1.asx
  6. Dr David Casey: http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/Casey1.asx
  7. Johanna Weiss (Alzheimer Association, Louisville): http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/Weiss1.asx
  8. Q&A http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/QandA1.asx
  9. Panel Discussion: http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/Panel1.asx

2. Louisville Free Pubic Library series: Boom Time Series Jan 18, 2012

Dr. Robert Friedland. “Your brain: How to reduce your risk”

http://louisville.edu/television/Med/Alzheimers/Friedland.asx

3. Neurology Grand Rounds Mar 16, 2012

Dr. Robert Friedland. The Framing of the Concept of Dementia:

From Emil Kraepelin to National Institute of Aging

http://louisville.edu/television/Med/GrandRounds/NGR031612.asx

4. Rotary Club of Louisville, KY, USA Jan 31 2013

Dr. Robert Friedland "Alzheimer's, Dementia and Aging"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFD2K4Ns-0Y

Collaborators

University of Louisville

A. Roberts, Ph.D. Physiology

R. Vaishnav Ph.D. Physiology

Ruolan Liu, Ph.D, Neuroscience

CWRU

Xiongwei Zhu, Ph.D., Pathology

M. Zagorski, Ph.D. Chemistry

Tel Aviv Univ.

R. Inzelberg, MD Neurology

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Ruma Raha-Chowdhury, Ph.D (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Matthew Chapman, Ph.D, Microbiology