The Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center (Knight ADRC) at Washington University was established in 1985 with a grant from the National Institute on Aging to support studies and projects to improve the understanding of Alzheimer disease (AD). Subsequently, the Knight ADRC has set standards for the diagnosis and study of AD.

The Knight ADRC diagnostic approach is one of the major achievements of the program. The Clinical Dementia Rating® (CDR) was developed as a tool for staging AD and has become the standard tool worldwide by which clinicians rate dementia severity. The ability to distinguish the early stages of AD from healthy aging has been a direct result of Knight ADRC diagnostic methods. The volunteer participants in Knight ADRC studies, including those who are aging normally, as well as those with dementia, and their families, have been major contributors to the program.

According to John C. Morris, MD, the Director of the Knight ADRC, AD remains both underdiagnosed and undertreated despite advances in the field. The Knight ADRC is currently working to identify methods to detect AD-related brain changes that begin years or even decades before any clinical symptoms appear. 

Currently an estimated 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer disease, and this number is expected to triple by the year 2050. Someone in the United States develops the disease every 65 seconds.

There is an urgent need for a diverse group of dedicated, research volunteers.