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Willa Brenowitz, PhD, MPH

Title(s)Assistant Professor, Psychiatry
SchoolSchool of Medicine
AddressLocation Required
Varies CA 00000
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    Cornell UniversityBABiology and Society
    University of WashingtonMPHHealth Services
    University of WashingtonPhDEpidemiology
    University of California, San FranciscoPostdoctoral Epidemiology of Aging/Chronic Disease

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    I am an epidemiologist and am broadly interested in understanding factors that contribute to brain aging. I am especially interested in the role of multimorbidity in cognitive decline, as well as the intersection of genetic, psychosocial, and health factors across the lifecourse. I am also interested in using novel statistical and epidemiologic approaches to study AD and other chronic diseases in aging.

    Much of my current research focuses on the relationship between sensory impairments (e.g. hearing and vision loss) and dementia in older adults. Sensory health is underappreciated but an emerging area of research importance, sensory impairments are potential risk factors for dementia, and sensory and cognitive function are closely linked biologically. There is a need for understanding the impact of sensory impairments and the link with dementia in diverse aging populations.

    I use both traditional epidemiologic approaches as well as alternative approaches to enhance causal inference. I am especially interested in quasi experimental designs and instrumental variable analysis including Mendelian randomization. Such alternative study design offer opportunities to better understand early AD etiology and tease apart mechanisms that may contribute or be a marker of AD and brain aging.

    I welcome student involvement and am interested in training the next generation of researchers, please feel free to contact me to discuss further.

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    Sensory Impairments, Cognitive Decline, and Dementia: What Explains the Association?
    NIH/NIA K01AG062722Sep 1, 2019 - Apr 30, 2024
    Role: Principal Investigator

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    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    Altmetrics Details PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Using Genetic Information to Explore Whether Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease Affects Hearing Difficulty. Innovation in Aging. 2020 Dec 16; 4(Suppl 1):805-805. Willa Brenowitz, Teresa Filshtein, Kristine Yaffe, Stefan Walter, Thomas Hoffmann, Eric Jorgenson, Rachel Whitmer, Maria Glymour. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    2. Cognitive Reserve, Incident Cancer, and Rate of Memory Decline in Later Life. Innovation in Aging. 2020 Dec 16; 4(Suppl 1):146-146. Monica Ospina Romero, Willa Brenowitz, Eleanor Hayes-Larson, Sarah F Ackley, Elizabeth R Mayeda, M Maria Glymour, Lindsay Kobayashi. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    3. THE BIDIRECTIONAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VISION AND COGNITION: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS. Ophthalmology. 2020 Dec 14. Vu TA, Fenwick EK, Gan AT, Man RE, Tan BK, Gupta P, Ho KC, Reyes-Ortiz CA, Trompet S, Gussekloo J, O'Brien JM, Mueller-Schotte S, Wong TY, Tham YC, Cheng CY, Lee AT, Rait G, Swenor BK, Varadaraj V, Brenowitz WD, Medeiros FA, Naël V, Narasimhalu K, Chen CL, Lamoureux EL. PMID: 33333104.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    4. Phenome-wide associations with an Alzheimer’s disease genetic risk score in UK Biobank: Identifying early indicators of disease. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2020 Dec 7; 16(S10). Scott C Zimmerman, Sarah F Ackley, Willa D Brenowitz, Rebecca E Graff, M Maria Glymour. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    5. Cognitive performance among participants with Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2020 Dec 7; 16(S6). Merilee Teylan, Kristen Schwabe-Fry, Timothy M. Hughes, Lilah M Besser, Willa D. Brenowitz, C. Dirk Keene, Kathryn Gauthreaux, Jessica E. Culhane, Zachary Miller, Yen-Chi Chen, Kwun Chuen Gary Chan, Charles Mock, Walter A. Kukull. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    6. Sensory impairments and cognition in a diverse cohort: Kaiser Healthy Aging and Diverse Life Experiences (KHANDLE) Study. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2020 Dec 7; 16(S10). Kristen M George, Rachel Peterson, Paola Gilsanz, Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, Dan M Mungas, M Maria Glymour, Willa D Brenowitz, Rachel A Whitmer. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    7. The association between migraine genetic risk and dementia: A Mendelian randomization study. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2020 Dec 7; 16(S3). Sarah F. Ackley, Pamela M. Rist, Willa D. Brenowitz, Rebecca E. Graff, M. Maria Glymour. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    8. Functional hearing loss as a marker for early Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: Exploring the potential for reverse causation. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2020 Dec 7; 16(S10). Willa D Brenowitz, Teresa J Filshtein, Kristine Yaffe, Stefan Walter, Sarah F Ackley, Thomas Hoffmann, Eric Jorgenson, Rachel A Whitmer, M Maria Glymour. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    9. Depressive symptoms modeled across the life-course are associated with higher risk of dementia and cognitive decline: A pooled cohort analysis. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2020 Dec 7; 16(S10). Willa D Brenowitz, Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Eric Vittinghoff, Karen A Matthews, Sherita H Golden, Annette L Fitzpatrick, Kristine Yaffe. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    10. Peripheral nerve function and dementia in older adults with and without diabetes. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2020 Dec 7; 16(S10). Willa D Brenowitz, Nathaniel M Robbins, Elsa S Strotmeyer, Kristine Yaffe. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    11. Genetic risk of Alzheimer’s disease is linked to short sleep duration. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2020 Dec 7; 16(S10). Yue Leng, Sarah F Ackley, M Maria Glymour, Kristine Yaffe, Willa D Brenowitz. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    12. Association Between Alzheimer Disease and Cancer With Evaluation of Study Biases: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Nov 02; 3(11):e2025515. Ospina-Romero M, Glymour MM, Hayes-Larson E, Mayeda ER, Graff RE, Brenowitz WD, Ackley SF, Witte JS, Kobayashi LC. PMID: 33185677.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    13. Apathy and risk of probable incident dementia among community-dwelling older adults. Neurology. 2020 Dec 15; 95(24):e3280-e3287. Bock MA, Bahorik A, Brenowitz WD, Yaffe K. PMID: 33055276.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    14. Genetic Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Sleep Duration in Non-Demented Elders. Ann Neurol. 2020 Sep 20. Leng Y, Ackley SF, Glymour MM, Yaffe K, Brenowitz WD. PMID: 32951248.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    
    15. Association of genetic risk for Alzheimer disease and hearing impairment. Neurology. 2020 10 20; 95(16):e2225-e2234. Brenowitz WD, Filshtein TJ, Yaffe K, Walter S, Ackley SF, Hoffmann TJ, Jorgenson E, Whitmer RA, Glymour MM. PMID: 32878991.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    16. Clinician-judged hearing impairment and associations with neuropathologic burden. Neurology. 2020 09 22; 95(12):e1640-e1649. Brenowitz WD, Besser LM, Kukull WA, Keene CD, Glymour MM, Yaffe K. PMID: 32759190.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    17. Incident dementia and faster rates of cognitive decline are associated with worse multisensory function summary scores. Alzheimers Dement. 2020 Oct; 16(10):1384-1392. Brenowitz WD, Kaup AR, Yaffe K. PMID: 32657033.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    18. Dual sensory impairment in older adults and risk of dementia from the GEM Study. Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2020; 12(1):e12054. Hwang PH, Longstreth WT, Brenowitz WD, Thielke SM, Lopez OL, Francis CE, DeKosky ST, Fitzpatrick AL. PMID: 32671180.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    19. Difficulty and help with activities of daily living among older adults living alone with cognitive impairment. Alzheimers Dement. 2020 08; 16(8):1125-1133. Edwards RD, Brenowitz WD, Portacolone E, Covinsky KE, Bindman A, Glymour MM, Torres JM. PMID: 32588985.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    20. The Association Between Cancer and Spousal Rate of Memory Decline: A Negative Control Study to Evaluate (Unmeasured) Social Confounding of the Cancer-memory Relationship. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2020 Jun 19. Ospina-Romero M, Brenowitz WD, Glymour MM, Mayeda ER, Graff RE, Witte JS, Ackley SF, Lu KP, Kobayashi LC. PMID: 32568784.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    21. 1152 Genetic Risk Of Alzheimer’S Disease Is Linked To Short Sleep Duration. Sleep. 2020 May 27; 43(Supplement_1):a439-a439. Y Leng, K Yaffe, S Ackley, M Glymour, W Brenowitz. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    22. State School Policies as Predictors of Physical and Mental Health: A Natural Experiment in the REGARDS Cohort. Am J Epidemiol. 2020 05 05; 189(5):384-393. Brenowitz WD, Manly JJ, Murchland AR, Nguyen TT, Liu SY, Glymour MM, Levine DA, Crowe M, Hohman TJ, Dufouil C, Launer LJ, Hedden T, Eng CW, Wadley VG, Howard VJ. PMID: 31595946.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    23. Concordance of Clinical Alzheimer Diagnosis and Neuropathological Features at Autopsy. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2020 05 01; 79(5):465-473. Gauthreaux K, Bonnett TA, Besser LM, Brenowitz WD, Teylan M, Mock C, Chen YC, Chan KCG, Keene CD, Zhou XH, Kukull WA. PMID: 32186726.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    24. Intention to Screen for Alzheimer's Disease by Residential Locale. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 03 27; 17(7). Besser LM, Brenowitz WD, Park J, Tolea MI, Galvin JE. PMID: 32230914.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
    25. Estimating associations between antidepressant use and incident mild cognitive impairment in older adults with depression. PLoS One. 2020; 15(1):e0227924. Han F, Bonnett T, Brenowitz WD, Teylan MA, Besser LM, Chen YC, Chan G, Cao KG, Gao Y, Zhou XH. PMID: 31951629.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    26. Life course biopsychosocial effects of retrospective childhood social support and later-life cognition. Psychol Aging. 2019 Nov; 34(7):867-883. Zahodne LB, Sharifian N, Manly JJ, Sumner JA, Crowe M, Wadley VG, Howard VJ, Murchland AR, Brenowitz WD, Weuve J. PMID: 31566397.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    27. Reserve and Alzheimer's disease genetic risk: Effects on hospitalization and mortality. Alzheimers Dement. 2019 07; 15(7):907-916. Filshtein TJ, Brenowitz WD, Mayeda ER, Hohman TJ, Walter S, Jones RN, Elahi FM, Glymour MM. PMID: 31327391.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    28. Rate of Memory Change Before and After Cancer Diagnosis. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 06 05; 2(6):e196160. Ospina-Romero M, Abdiwahab E, Kobayashi L, Filshtein T, Brenowitz WD, Mayeda ER, Glymour MM. PMID: 31225893.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    29. Multiple Sensory Impairment Is Associated With Increased Risk of Dementia Among Black and White Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 05 16; 74(6):890-896. Brenowitz WD, Kaup AR, Lin FR, Yaffe K. PMID: 30452551.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 8     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    30. Treated hypothyroidism is associated with cerebrovascular disease but not Alzheimer's disease pathology in older adults. Neurobiol Aging. 2018 02; 62:64-71. Brenowitz WD, Han F, Kukull WA, Nelson PT. PMID: 29107848.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    31. Mixed neuropathologies and associations with domain-specific cognitive decline. Neurology. 2017 Oct 24; 89(17):1773-1781. Brenowitz WD, Hubbard RA, Keene CD, Hawes SE, Longstreth WT, Woltjer RL, Kukull WA. PMID: 28939667.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    32. Alzheimer's disease neuropathologic change, Lewy body disease, and vascular brain injury in clinic- and community-based samples. Neurobiol Aging. 2017 May; 53:83-92. Brenowitz WD, Keene CD, Hawes SE, Hubbard RA, Longstreth WT, Woltjer RL, Crane PK, Larson EB, Kukull WA. PMID: 28236716.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 15     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    33. Mixed neuropathologies and estimated rates of clinical progression in a large autopsy sample. Alzheimers Dement. 2017 Jun; 13(6):654-662. Brenowitz WD, Hubbard RA, Keene CD, Hawes SE, Longstreth WT, Woltjer RL, Kukull WA. PMID: 27870939.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 17     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    34. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy and its co-occurrence with Alzheimer's disease and other cerebrovascular neuropathologic changes. Neurobiol Aging. 2015 Oct; 36(10):2702-8. Brenowitz WD, Nelson PT, Besser LM, Heller KB, Kukull WA. PMID: 26239176.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 17     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    35. Longitudinal associations between self-rated health and performance-based physical function in a population-based cohort of older adults. PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e111761. Brenowitz WD, Hubbard RA, Crane PK, Gray SL, Zaslavsky O, Larson EB. PMID: 25365288.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 11     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    36. Social relationships and risk of incident mild cognitive impairment in U.S. Alzheimer's disease centers. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2014 Jul-Sep; 28(3):253-60. Brenowitz WD, Kukull WA, Beresford SA, Monsell SE, Williams EC. PMID: 24577205.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    37. Body mass index, weight change, and clinical progression in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2014 Jan-Mar; 28(1):36-43. Besser LM, Gill DP, Monsell SE, Brenowitz W, Meranus DH, Kukull W, Gustafson DR. PMID: 24126214.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 45     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    38. Hippocampal sclerosis of aging is a key Alzheimer's disease mimic: clinical-pathologic correlations and comparisons with both alzheimer's disease and non-tauopathic frontotemporal lobar degeneration. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014; 39(3):691-702. Brenowitz WD, Monsell SE, Schmitt FA, Kukull WA, Nelson PT. PMID: 24270205.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 36     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    39. Arteriolosclerosis that affects multiple brain regions is linked to hippocampal sclerosis of ageing. Brain. 2014 Jan; 137(Pt 1):255-67. Neltner JH, Abner EL, Baker S, Schmitt FA, Kryscio RJ, Jicha GA, Smith CD, Hammack E, Kukull WA, Brenowitz WD, Van Eldik LJ, Nelson PT. PMID: 24271328.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 45     Fields:    Translation:Humans
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