Christine A Szekely

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, United States

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Publications (19)101.98 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is hallmarked by amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and widespread cortical neuronal loss (Selkoe, 2001). The "amyloid cascade hypothesis" posits that cerebral amyloid sets neurotoxic events into motion that precipitate Alzheimer dementia (Hardy and Allsop, 1991). Yet, faithful recapitulation of all AD features in widely used transgenic (Tg) mice engineered to overproduce Aβ peptides has been elusive. We have developed a Tg rat model (line TgF344-AD) expressing mutant human amyloid precursor protein (APPsw) and presenilin 1 (PS1ΔE9) genes, each independent causes of early-onset familial AD. TgF344-AD rats manifest age-dependent cerebral amyloidosis that precedes tauopathy, gliosis, apoptotic loss of neurons in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, and cognitive disturbance. These results demonstrate progressive neurodegeneration of the Alzheimer type in these animals. The TgF344-AD rat fills a critical need for a next-generation animal model to enable basic and translational AD research.
    Journal of Neuroscience 04/2013; 33(15):6245-6256. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we present the design and implementation of the integrated proactive surveillance system for prostate cancer (PASS-PC). The integrated PASS-PC is a multi-institutional web-based system aimed at collecting a variety of data on prostate cancer patients in a standardized and efficient way. The integrated PASS-PC was commissioned by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and built through the joint of efforts by a group of experts in medical oncology, genetics, pathology, nutrition, and cancer research informatics. Their main goal is facilitating the efficient and uniform collection of critical demographic, lifestyle, nutritional, dietary and clinical information to be used in developing new strategies in diagnosing, preventing and treating prostate cancer.The integrated PASS-PC is designed based on common industry standards - a three tiered architecture and a Service- Oriented Architecture (SOA). It utilizes open source software and programming languages such as HTML, PHP, CSS, JQuery, Drupal and MySQL. We also use a commercial database management system - Oracle 11g. The integrated PASS-PC project uses a "confederation model" that encourages participation of any interested center, irrespective of its size or location. The integrated PASS-PC utilizes a standardized approach to data collection and reporting, and uses extensive validation procedures to prevent entering erroneous data. The integrated PASS-PC controlled vocabulary is harmonized with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Thesaurus. Currently, two cancer centers in the USA are participating in the integrated PASS-PC project.THE FINAL SYSTEM HAS THREE MAIN COMPONENTS: 1. National Prostate Surveillance Network (NPSN) website; 2. NPSN myConnect portal; 3. Proactive Surveillance System for Prostate Cancer (PASS-PC). PASS-PC is a cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) compatible product. The integrated PASS-PC provides a foundation for collaborative prostate cancer research. It has been built to meet the short term goal of gathering prostate cancer related data, but also with the prerequisites in place for future evolution into a cancer research informatics platform. In the future this will be vital for successful prostate cancer studies, care and treatment.
    The Open Medical Informatics Journal 01/2012; 6:1-8.
  • C A Szekely, P P Zandi
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease imposes a significant public health burden that will only worsen as the population ages. Thus, there is considerable motivation to develop effective strategies to treat, or more ideally, prevent the disease. Epidemiologic evidence has suggested that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs) may be neuro-protective. However, this evidence is controversial. Observational studies in humans have found that the use of NSAIDs is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. By contrast, randomized trials have reported that NSAIDs are not effective in treating patients with clinically established disease nor in preventing the onset of dementia among those who are cognitively normal or have mild cognitive impairment. In this article, we review the existing epidemiologic evidence on the relationship between NSAIDs and Alzheimer's disease and discuss several hypotheses to explain the divergent findings.
    CNS & neurological disorders drug targets 03/2010; 9(2):132-9. · 3.57 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2010; 6(4).
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    Kavon Rezai-Zadeh, David Gate, Christine A Szekely, Terrence Town
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia in elderly populations throughout the world and its incidence is on the rise. Current clinical diagnosis of AD requires intensive examination that includes neuropsychological testing and costly brain imaging techniques, and a definitive diagnosis can only be made upon postmortem neuropathological examination. Additionally, antemortem clinical AD diagnosis is typically administered following onset of cognitive and behavioral symptoms. As these symptoms emerge relatively late in disease progression, therapeutic intervention occurs after significant neurodegeneration, thereby limiting efficacy. The identification of noninvasive diagnostic biomarkers of AD is becoming increasingly important to make diagnosis more widely available to clinics with limited access to neuropsychological testing or state-of-the-art brain imaging, reduce the cost of clinical diagnosis, provide a biological measure to track the course of therapeutic intervention, and most importantly, allow for earlier diagnosis--possibly even during the prodromal phase--with hopes of therapeutic intervention prior to appreciable neurodegeneration. Circulating leukocytes are attractive candidate AD biomarkers as they can be obtained in a minimally invasive manner and are easily analyzed by widely available flow cytometry techniques. In this review, we critically analyze the potential utility of peripheral leukocytes as biological markers for AD.
    Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 11/2009; 9(11):1623-33. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Observational studies have shown reduced risk of Alzheimer dementia in users of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. To evaluate the effects of naproxen sodium and celecoxib on cognitive function in older adults. Randomized, double-masked chemoprevention trial. Six US memory clinics. Men and women aged 70 years and older with a family history of Alzheimer disease; 2117 of 2528 enrolled had follow-up cognitive assessment. Celecoxib (200 mg twice daily), naproxen sodium (220 mg twice daily), or placebo, randomly allocated in a ratio of 1:1:1.5, respectively. Seven tests of cognitive function and a global summary score measured annually. Longitudinal analyses showed lower global summary scores over time for naproxen compared with placebo (- 0.05 SDs; P = .02) and lower scores on the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination over time for both treatment groups compared with placebo (- 0.33 points for celecoxib [P = .04] and - 0.36 points for naproxen [P = .02]). Restriction of analyses to measures collected from persons without dementia attenuated the treatment group differences. Analyses limited to measures obtained while participants were being issued study drugs produced results similar to the intention-to-treat analyses. Use of naproxen or celecoxib did not improve cognitive function. There was weak evidence for a detrimental effect of naproxen.
    Archives of neurology 08/2008; 65(7):896-905. · 7.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Observational studies show reduced incidence of Alzheimer dementia (AD) in users of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). One hypothesis holds that the subset of NSAIDs known as selective A beta(42)-lowering agents (SALAs) is responsible for this apparent reduction in AD risk. We pooled individual-level data from six prospective studies to obtain a sufficient sample to examine AD risk in users of SALA vs non-SALA NSAIDs. Of 13,499 initially dementia-free participants (70,863 person-years), 820 developed incident AD. Users of NSAIDs (29.6%) showed reduced risk of AD (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.77, 95% CI 0.65-0.91). The point estimates were similar for SALAs (aHR 0.87, CI 0.72-1.04) and non-SALAs (aHR 0.75, CI 0.56-1.01). Because 573 NSAID users (14.5%) reported taking both a SALA and non-SALA, we examined their use alone and in combination. Resulting aHRs were 0.82 (CI 0.67-0.99) for SALA only, 0.60 (CI 0.40-0.90) for non-SALA only, and 0.87 (CI 0.57-1.33) for both NSAIDs (Wald test for differences, p = 0.32). The 40.7% of participants who used aspirin also showed reduced risk of AD, even when they used no other NSAIDs (aHR 0.78, CI 0.66-0.92). By contrast, there was no association with use of acetaminophen (aHR 0.93, CI 0.76-1.13). In this pooled dataset, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use reduced the risk of Alzheimer dementia (AD). However, there was no apparent advantage in AD risk reduction for the subset of NSAIDs shown to selectively lower A beta(42), suggesting that all conventional NSAIDs including aspirin have a similar protective effect in humans.
    Neurology 07/2008; 70(24):2291-8. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease is the most common dementia and is pathologically characterized by deposition of amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) into beta-amyloid plaques, neuronal injury and low-level, chronic activation of brain immunity. Transforming growth factor-betas (TGF-betas) are pleiotropic cytokines that have key roles in immune cell activation, inflammation and repair after injury. We genetically interrupted TGF-beta and downstream Smad2/3 signaling (TGF-beta-Smad2/3) in innate immune cells by inducing expression of CD11c promoter-driven dominant-negative TGF-beta receptor type II in C57BL/6 mice (CD11c-DNR), crossed these mice with mice overexpressing mutant human amyloid precursor protein, the Tg2576 Alzheimer's disease mouse model, and evaluated Alzheimer's disease-like pathology. Aged double-transgenic mice showed complete mitigation of Tg2576-associated hyperactivity and partial mitigation of defective spatial working memory. Brain parenchymal and cerebrovascular beta-amyloid deposits and Abeta abundance were markedly (up to 90%) attenuated in Tg2576-CD11c-DNR mice. This was associated with increased infiltration of Abeta-containing peripheral macrophages around cerebral vessels and beta-amyloid plaques. In vitro, cultures of peripheral macrophages, but not microglia, from CD11c-DNR mice showed blockade of classical TGF-beta-activated Smad2/3 but also showed hyperactivation of alternative bone morphogenic protein-activated Smad1/5/8 signaling and increased Abeta phagocytosis. Similar effects were noted after pharmacological inhibition of activin-like kinase-5, a type I TGF-beta receptor. Taken together, our results suggest that blockade of TGF-beta-Smad2/3 signaling in peripheral macrophages represents a new therapeutic target for Alzheimer's disease.
    Nature medicine 07/2008; 14(6):681-7. · 27.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This synthetic review presents an approach to the use of biomarkers for the development of new treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD). After reviewing the process of translation as applied to AD, the paper provides a general update on what is known about the biology of the disease, and highlights currently available treatments. This is followed by a discussion of future drug development for AD emphasizing the roles that biomarkers are likely to play in this process: (1) define patients who are going to progress rapidly for the purpose of trial enrichment; (2) differentiate disease and therapeutically relevant AD subtypes; (3) assess the potential activity of specific therapies in vivo or ex vivo; and (4) measure the underlying disease state, so as to (a) detect disease and assess drug response in asymptomatic patients, (b) serve as a secondary outcome measure in clinical trials of symptomatic patients, and (c) decide if further development of a treatment should be stopped if not likely to be effective. Several examples are used to illustrate each biomarker utility in the AD context.
    International Psychogeriatrics 06/2008; 20(5):871-89. · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Studies have shown less cognitive decline and lower risk of Alzheimer's disease in elderly individuals consuming either antioxidant vitamins or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The potential of added benefit from their combined use has not been studied. We therefore analyzed data from 3,376 elderly participants of the Cache County Study who were given the Modified Mini-Mental State examination up to three times during a period of 8 years. Those who used a combination of vitamins E and C supplements and NSAIDs at baseline declined by an average 0.96 fewer points every 3 years than nonusers (P < .05). This apparent effect was attributable entirely to participants with the APOE epsilon4 allele, whose users declined by 2.25 fewer points than nonusers every 3 years (P < .05). These results suggest that among elderly individuals with an APOE epsilon4 allele, there is an association between using antioxidant supplements in combination with NSAIDs and less cognitive decline over time.
    Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association 05/2008; 4(3):223-7. · 14.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic and laboratory studies suggest that nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce risk of Alzheimer disease (AD). We therefore investigated the association between use of NSAIDs, aspirin, and the non-NSAID analgesic acetaminophen with incidence of dementia and AD. Participants in the Cardiovascular Health Cognition Study included 3,229 individuals aged 65 or older, free of dementia at baseline, with information on medication use. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate the association of medication use with incident all-cause dementia, AD, and vascular dementia (VaD). Additional analyses considered the NSAID-AD relationship as a function of age, presence of at least one epsilon 4 allele at APOE, race, and individual NSAIDs' reported ability to reduce production of the amyloid-beta peptide variant A beta(42). Use of NSAIDs was associated with a lower risk of dementia (adjusted hazard ratio or aHR 0.76, 95% CI or CI 0.60-0.96) and, in particular, AD (aHR 0.63, CI 0.45-0.88), but not VaD (aHR 0.92, CI 0.65-1.28). No similar trends were observed with acetaminophen (aHR 0.99, CI 0.79-1.24). Closer examination suggested AD risk reduction with NSAIDs only in participants having an APOE epsilon 4 allele (aHR 0.34, CI 0.18-0.65; aHR for others 0.88, CI 0.59-1.32). There was no advantage in AD risk reduction with NSAIDs reported to selectively reduce A beta(42). Results were consistent with previous cohort studies showing reduced risk of AD in NSAID users, but this association was found only in those with an APOE epsilon 4 allele, and there was no advantage for A beta(42)-lowering NSAIDs.
    Neurology 02/2008; 70(1):17-24. · 8.25 Impact Factor
  • C A Szekely, J C S Breitner, P P Zandi
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    ABSTRACT: The already considerable public health burden of Alzheimer's disease will likely worsen as populations around the world age. As a result, there is considerable motivation to develop effective strategies for preventing the disease. A wide variety of such strategies are under investigation and include pharmaceuticals, nutriceuticals, diet, physical activity and cognitive activity. We review here the most promising candidates and the epidemiologic evidence for their efficacy. Although none of these have yet to be definitively shown to prevent Alzheimer's disease, further research should help to clarify what role they may play in reducing the burden of this disease.
    International Review of Psychiatry 01/2008; 19(6):693-706. · 1.80 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2008; 4(4).
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic studies have suggested that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be useful for the prevention of Alzheimer disease (AD). By contrast, clinical trials have not supported NSAID use to delay or treat AD. Few studies have evaluated cognitive trajectories of NSAID users over time. Residents of Cache County, UT, aged 65 or older on January 1, 1995, were invited to participate in the study. At baseline, participants provided a detailed inventory of their medications and completed a revised Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MS). Participants (n = 3,383) who were cognitively normal at baseline were re-examined after 3 and 8 years. The association between NSAID use and 3MS scores over time was estimated using random effects modeling. Associations depended upon when NSAIDs were started and APOE genotype. In participants who started NSAID use prior to age 65, those with no APOE epsilon4 alleles performed similarly to nonusers (a difference of 0.10 points per year; p = 0.19), while those with one or more epsilon4 allele(s) showed more protection (0.40 points per year; p = 0.0005). Among participants who first used NSAIDs at or after age 65, those with one or more epsilon4 alleles had higher baseline scores (0.95 points; p = 0.03) but did not show subsequent difference in change in score over time (0.06 points per year; p = 0.56). Those without an epsilon4 allele who started NSAID use after age 65 showed greater decline than nonusers (-0.16 points per year; p = 0.02). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use may help to prevent cognitive decline in older adults if started in midlife rather than late life. This effect may be more notable in those who have one or more APOE epsilon4 alleles.
    Neurology 08/2007; 69(3):275-82. · 8.25 Impact Factor
  • Christine A Szekely, Terrence Town, Peter P Zandi
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic and laboratory studies suggest that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Initial reports in the early 1990's indicated that a history of arthritis, a presumed surrogate of NSAID use, was associated with a lower risk of AD. [1] These reports were followed by epidemiologic studies in which NSAID use was assessed directly and the majority of these reports confirmed the inverse association with risk for AD. [2, 3] Postmortem studies in humans [4], studies in animal models of AD [5, 6], and in vitro studies [7, 8] generally support the notion that NSAIDs can reduce the deleterious inflammation which surrounds amyloid beta (Abeta) plaques in the AD brain. In addition, some studies conducted in vitro and in rodents point to a subgroup of NSAIDs that may work by inhibiting amyloidogenic APP metabolism rather than through traditional anti-inflammatory mechanisms. [9-11] This novel property of NSAIDs is currently being explored in epidemiologic studies. Results from randomized clinical trials of NSAIDs and established AD and one trial on secondary prevention have not been promising and there have been no prevention trials completed. The feasibility of using NSAIDs as a chemopreventive agent in AD is discussed.
    Sub-cellular biochemistry 02/2007; 42:229-48.
  • Christine A. Szekely, Terrence Town, Peter P. Zandi
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic and laboratory studies suggest that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Initial reports in the early 1990’s indicated that a history of arthritis, a presumed surrogate of NSAID use, was associated with a lower risk of AD. [1] These reports were followed by epidemiologic studies in which NSAID use was assessed directly and the majority of these reports confirmed the inverse association with risk for AD. [2,3] Postmortem studies in humans [4], studies in animal models of AD [5,6], and in vitro studies [7,8] generally support the notion that NSAIDs can reduce the deleterious inflammation which surrounds amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques in the AD brain. In addition, some studies conducted in vitro and in rodents point to a subgroup of NSAIDs that may work by inhibiting amyloidogenic APP metabolism rather than through traditional anti-inflammatory mechanisms. [9-11] This novel property of NSAIDs is currently being explored in epidemiologic studies. Results from randomized clinical trials of NSAIDs and established AD and one trial on secondary prevention have not been promising and there have been no prevention trials completed. The feasibility of using NSAIDs as a chemopreventive agent in AD is discussed
    12/2006: pages 229-248;
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    ABSTRACT: There are several population-based studies of aging, memory, and dementia being conducted worldwide. Of these, the Cache County Study on Memory, Health and Aging is noteworthy for its large number of "oldest-old" members. This study, which has been following an initial cohort of 5,092 seniors since 1995, has reported among its major findings the role of the Apolipoprotein E gene on modifying the risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) in males and females and identifying pharmacologic compounds that may act to reduce AD risk. This article summarizes the major findings of the Cache County study to date, describes ongoing investigations, and reports preliminary analyses on the outcome of the oldest-old in this population, the subgroup of participants who were over age 84 at the study's inception.
    Care Management Journals 02/2005; 6(2):107-14.
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease, the most prevalent dementia, is a prominent source of chronic illness in the elderly. Laboratory evidence suggests that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Since the early 1990s numerous observational epidemiological studies have also investigated this possibility. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to summarize and evaluate available evidence regarding exposure to nonaspirin NSAIDs and risk of Alzheimer's disease using meta-analyses of published studies. A systematic search was conducted using Medline, Biological Abstracts, and the Cochrane Library for publications 1960 onwards. All cross-sectional, retrospective, or prospective observational studies of Alzheimer's disease in relation to NSAID exposure were included in the analysis. At least 2 of 4 independent reviewers characterized each study by source of data and design, including method of classifying exposure and outcome, and evaluated the studies for eligibility. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus of all 4 reviewers. Of 38 publications, 11 met the qualitative criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. For the 3 case-control and 4 cross-sectional studies, the combined risk estimate for development of Alzheimer's disease was 0.51 (95% Cl=0.40-0.66) for NSAID exposure. In the prospective studies, the estimate was 0.74 (95% Cl=0.62-0.89) for 4 studies reporting lifetime NSAID exposure and it was 0.42 (95% Cl=0.26-0.66) for the 3 studies reporting a duration of use of 2 or more years. Based on analysis of prospective and nonprospective studies, NSAID exposure was associated with decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease. An issue that requires further exploration in future trials or observational studies is the temporal relationship between NSAID exposure and protection against Alzheimer's disease.
    Neuroepidemiology 01/2004; 23(4):159-69. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The epsilon4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene confers an increased risk for the development of AD. The authors compared longitudinal rates of change in hippocampal volume as a function of APOE genotype in nondemented elderly individuals. Rate of volumetric loss was significantly greater among epsilon4+ compared with epsilon4- individuals. These results indicate that individuals positive for the APOE epsilon4 allele may show a greater rate of hippocampal atrophy than their epsilon4- counterparts, even in the absence of a diagnosis of AD.
    Neurology 08/2000; 55(1):134-6. · 8.25 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

817 Citations
101.98 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2010
    • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
      • Cedars Sinai Medical Center
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 2008
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Mental Health
      Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 2004–2008
    • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
      • Department of Mental Health
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States