Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
The Minneapolis GRECC has been serving older Veterans in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas since 1978.
Research Focus Areas
Minneapolis VA GRECC research focuses on the aging brain, with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease and neurodegeneration. Research conducted by GRECC investigators range from molecular, cellular, and behavioral biology, to studies on healthy brain aging, Alzheimer's disease and caregiving. Specific projects include testing in rodent models of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease; diet effects on dementia; use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study the intracellular environment of the human brain in vivo in healthy aging, under oxidative stress and in Alzheimer's disease; setting up a human dementia brain bank; identiifying gaps in primary care of dementia; and systematic literature reviews of interventions for delaying or preventing cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. GRECC research is supported by funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer's Association, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, foundations and corporations.
Education and Evaluation
The Minneapolis GRECC offers a variety of educational opportunities for VA and non-VA professionals and students with a focus on dementia. The Minneapolis GRECC Clinical Program is a major training site for several different disciplines (see Clinical). Additionally, GRECC-sponsored seminars are given regularly and broadcast to VISN 23, and GRECC staff give invited lectures at the University of Minnesota, other universities, and at national and international conferences.
The Minneapolis GRECC Clinical Program interdisciplinary team includes a neurologist, internists, geropsychiatrist, neuropsychologist, occupational therapist, pharmacist and social worker. Our published models of the evaluation and care of Veterans with cognitive impairment are taught to a broad spectrum of providers, including fellows in geropsychiatry and geriatric medicine, residents in neurology and psychiatry and students in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, neuropsychology and occupational therapy. Our models also include a rigorous consensus diagnosis process and a family meeting in which the diagnosis and a care plan is shared and other recommendations are outlined. Evolving models of care seek to improve recognition and managment of cognitive impairment in the PACTs through better integration of dementia specialty and primary care resources. The GRECC-based Cognitive Disorders Rotation for Neurology Residents coordinates resident training across a variety of sites with numerous affiliated faculty within and outside the VA.