Aging & Age-Related Diseases

A woman tends to an older man in a wheelchair

Living a longer life brings many joys, but for many, aging triggers diseases with complex health care challenges. Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and heart disease are all major diseases that are often linked to aging.  

At Georgetown, scientists look at the full continuum of age-related diseases — from research at the cellular level, to developing translational therapies and clinical trials, to rehabilitation.  

Research Activities

The Center for Aphasia Research and Rehabilitation focuses on how language is processed in the normal brain, how language breaks down in a brain damaged by stroke, head injury, or dementia, and how the brain recovers language functions — with or without therapy — in the months and years following the injury.

The Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery (CBPR) seeks to harness and expand existing strengths in order to develop groundbreaking approaches to restore brain function caused by neurological damage and disease. CBPR’s main focus is on the study of neuroplasticity, the biological process underlying the brain’s ability to learn and develop, and a potential recovery tool in conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and dementias such as Alzheimer’s. The Center’s long-term aim is to stimulate the brain to recover from damage, preserving and restoring neurologic function.

The Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging consists of faculty, research assistants, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students with expertise in structural, functional and molecular brain imaging.

The Center for Neural Injury and Recovery (CNIR) at Georgetown University promotes research in areas related to central nervous system injury and recovery, neural degeneration and nervous system plasticity.

The Translational Neurotherapeutics Program works to optimize collaborations between basic and preclinical scientists and clinicians and establish efficient pathways in bringing medicines that can improve, halt or restore function in neurodegenerative disorders from the bench to the bedside.  

The Memory Disorders Program, part of the Department of Neurology at the medical center, conducts research and provides clinical services. The program offer patients the opportunity to participate in a variety of research studies, including studies of prevention and novel treatments.

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, a designation that identifies hospitals and academic medical centers that have specialized teams of neurologists, movement disorders specialists, physical and occupational therapists and mental health professionals who are at the leading edge of the latest medications, therapies and innovations in Parkinson’s disease.

The Stroke National Central Atlantic Network for Research is a regional organizing hub of nationally known multi-center stroke clinical research trials. It helps patients find clinical research opportunities and furthers the science related to acute stroke treatment, stroke rehabilitation and recovery. It provides, combines and integrates the region’s best resources to conduct research in acute stroke, secondary stroke prevention, stroke rehabilitation and pediatric stroke. 

Education Activities

The Master of Science in Aging and Health program trains the next generation of leaders in a wide variety of aging-related fields. Through multidisciplinary preparation in theory, economics, policy and the human experience of aging, the program examines how society can construct a healthier understanding of aging and build a more age-integrated society.