2021 Research Grant Recipient

Dementia Alliance of North Carolina is pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 Lina Mae Edwards Young Investigator Research Grants.  James R. Bateman, MD, MPH, of Wake Forest University Health Sciences will be awarded $100,000 for his project titled “Autonomic Biomarkers of Mild Behavioral Impairment in ADRD.”

The purpose of Dementia Alliance’s research program is to address important issues ranging across a broad spectrum of concerns in the field of dementia science and caregiver support. The program seeks to discover the basic causes, prevention and cure of these diseases, as well as the most effective approaches to family support and the enrichment of the lives of those who suffer from dementia.

Dr. Bateman’s project will examine how changes in peripheral autonomic nervous system are linked to Mild Behavioral Impairment (MBI), a pre-cursor of very early Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD).  Using a commercially available, innovative wristband monitor, autonomic responses will be measured during routine cognitive testing to determine whether physiologic changes emerge that can better predict future disease progression.

Dr. James (Trey) Bateman is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Wake Forest School of Medicine and a Staff Behavioral Neurologist at the Salisbury VA Medical Center. He was born and raised near Winston-Salem in Eden, NC and attended Medical School and Residency in Neurology at UNC School of Medicine, before heading to Denver, CO for a fellowship in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry. He returned to North Carolina for a research fellowship at the Salisbury VA Medical Center in the Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), before joining the faculty here at Wake Forest in 2019. Along with Dr. Ben Williams, Dr. Bateman is the founding section co-head of the Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology section in the Department of Neurology.

“This grant is so important for my career development as an early stage investigator. I am honored to receive this support from Dementia Alliance of North Carolina. I was born and raised in North Carolina and look forward to working in the state to improve the care of individuals living with cognitive disorders. The behavioral symptoms associated with dementia are often overlooked, especially early on. This grant will jump start a line of research using non-invasive physiologic measurements to evaluate the biologic basis of early behavioral symptoms. By understanding the biologic basis, we can better measure and predict future changes, informing rational treatment strategies.”

This award was made possible with the support of Guardian Angel Thrift Shops, founded in 1999 and operated in two locations in Central North Carolina by founder and Dementia Alliance board member, Laura Gaddis, in memory of her mother, Lina Mae Edwards. Thanks to public support, Guardian Angel Thrift Shop has been able to contribute over $2 million for dementia research in our state.

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