CognitiveVitality.org is a program of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), a nonprofit organization solely dedicated to funding the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer's. It is managed by the expert scientists in our Aging & Alzheimer's Prevention program:
Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer
Howard Fillit, MD, is a geriatrician and neuroscientist, who has led the ADDF since its founding. Dr. Fillit has held faculty positions at The Rockefeller University, the SUNY-Stony Brook School of Medicine and the Cornell University School of Medicine. In 1987, he joined the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is a clinical professor of geriatric medicine and palliative care, medicine and neuroscience. Dr. Fillit also maintains a limited private practice in consultative geriatric medicine with a focus on Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
He has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications and is the senior editor of Brocklehurst's Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. Dr. Fillit is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Rita Hayworth Award from the Alzheimer's Association. He is a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, the American College of Physicians, the Gerontological Society of America and the New York Academy of Medicine. Dr. Fillit earned his bachelor of arts in neurobiology cum laude from Cornell University and his medical degree from the SUNY-Upstate Medical University.
Director, Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention
Penny Dacks, PhD, leads the Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention program, which includes CognitiveVitality.org, a resource providing scientific evidence on ways to promote brain health. Dr. Dacks also works to accelerate the development of prevention therapies with strategic grant funding, conferences, advisory panels and peer-reviewed scientific papers. Areas of interest include epidemiological evidence on and validation of preventative treatments, computational modeling and big-data approaches to predict therapeutic efficacy, crowd-sourcing health data and the application of aging biology to therapeutic development.
Dr. Dacks trained in neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Arizona, and Queen's University (Canada) with individual fellowships from the National Institute of Health, the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation, the ARCS Foundation and the Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation. She has authored over 18 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Gerontological Society of America, the Endocrine Society and the Association for Women in Science.
Assistant Director, Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention
Yuko Hara, PhD, is a member of the ADDF’s Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention team. In this capacity, she critically evaluates the scientific evidence behind therapies to promote brain health and/or prevent Alzheimer's disease. She also investigates potential risk factors as well as research proposals on prevention therapies.
Dr. Hara was previously an Assistant Professor in Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she remains an adjunct faculty member. Her research focused on brain aging, specifically how estrogens and reproductive aging influence the aging brain’s synapses and mitochondria. She earned a doctorate in neurology and neuroscience at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University and a bachelor's degree in biology from Cornell University, with additional study at Keio University in Japan. Dr. Hara has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, including articles in PNAS and Journal of Neuroscience.
Program Manager, Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention
Nick McKeehan is a member of the ADDF's Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention program. He evaluates the scientific evidence for and against therapies to promote brain health and/or prevent Alzheimer's disease at our website CognitiveVitality.org and contributes regularly to the site's blog.
Mr. McKeehan previously served as Chief Intern at Mid Atlantic Bio Angels (MABA) and was a research technician at Albert Einstein College of Medicine investigating repair capabilities of the brain. Mr. McKeehan received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Purdue University, where he was awarded a Howard Hughes Scholarship. He also writes about the biotechnology industry for 1st Pitch Life Science.
ADDF neuroscientists thoroughly evaluate the research evidence for and against suggested therapies to promote brain health and prevent dementia. We rate the strength of the evidence, the potential benefit, and the safety of each potential therapy and summarize our findings in clear, unbiased reports. And every single rating is reviewed by our external Clinical Advisory Board before being shared on the site.
We also work to accelerate research into prevention therapies and the development of drugs to prevent Alzheimer's. Our team has published numerous articles and held advisory panels and meetings on relevant topics; details are available in the Publications & Panels section. The prevention research we support can be found on the ADDF's website.
The ADDF is a global leader in funding research that accelerates the development of drugs to prevent and treat Alzheimer's and related diseases. Because we are a nonprofit, none of our work is influenced by commercial interests and we will never sell or profit from any of the therapies we evaluate. To learn more about us and how you can support our work, visit www.alzdiscovery.org.