What is the LEADS?

The Longitudinal Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Study (LEADS) explores the development of early-onset Alzheimer disease (AD) and how it compares to late-onset AD. View the LEADS Brochure.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Between ages 40 and 64 at the time of enrollment
  • Diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or dementia likely due to AD
  • Study partner (spouse, family member or friend) who will be interviewed about your memory and thinking

How often will I been seen?

  • You and a person who knows you well (a study partner) will be asked to come to the Memory and Aging Project offices yearly for up to 3 years.
  • These visits typically span 3-4 days, and can be scheduled for the same week or spread out over several weeks to best accommodate participants’ schedules.

What study procedures are a part of LEADS?


Interviews in our office with the study participant and study partner are performed to assess the participant’s memory and thinking. These last between 2-3 hours.

Blood Sample

Blood sample is taken to test DNA for genetic causes of AD.

Lumbar Puncture (optional)

An optional lumbar puncture is performed to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF contains proteins and other chemicals that are important for brain health and provides a unique “window” into understanding how Alzheimer disease develops and progresses.

Cognitive Testing

Psychometric testing of the study participant’s memory and thinking is preformed in our office. This testing takes between 2-3 hours.

Brain Scans

Brain scans using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) are conducted.


LEADS participants are compensated up to $350/year for time and effort. Other possible benefits: genetics counseling for participants with AD, PET scan results discussed with neurologist, and a dedicated social worker who can provide support and assistance.

What is brain donation?

We now know more about Alzheimer disease than ever before. This is in large part due to the dedication of research volunteers and the gift of brain donation for autopsy. A brain autopsy confirms a diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD) and identifies clues about other diseases that may be present in brain tissue. Information from the autopsy helps researchers better understand Alzheimer Disease and find a cure to help future generations. Learn more about this voluntary contribution from our Brain Donation Fact Sheet.

Contact Us

A Memory and Aging Project (MAP) team member can provide you with information about LEADS and answer any questions you may have.

Call MAP at (314) 286-2683, ask for the LEADS study coordinator.