Douglas Galasko 

Douglas R. Galasko, MD 

Professor In Residence


Contact Information

VAMC (SD) Room: 2296B

Phone: 858-552-8585 ext 3685

Mailing Address:
9500 Gilman Drive # 0948
La Jolla, CA 92093-0948

Dr. Galasko is a clinician-researcher who focuses on Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and other disorders resulting in cognitive impairment and dementia. He currently serves as Director of the UCSD Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC). He is a member of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study, a NIH-funded consortium of medical Centers that conducts clinical trials in Alzheimer’s Disease.

In clinical practice, he provides expert evaluation and comprehensive care for patients with memory and cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, Progressive Aphasia, and Dementia with Lewy Bodies, at the UCSD Perlman Neurology Clinic.

He also is a Staff Physician in the Neurology Service of the VA Medical Center, La Jolla, where he sees patients with a variety of neurological disorders.

Dr. Galasko has made significant original research contributions in the area of Alzheimer's disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and other disorders associated with cognitive impairment and dementia. He has authored 250 journal articles, over 30 book chapters, and serves as Co-Editor of the journal Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy. He has served on committees to develop diagnostic criteria for Dementia with Lewy Bodies and to standardize biological sample collection for multicenter research studies.

He has received research funding from the National Institute on Aging, the State of California, the Alzheimer Association, the Michael J Fox Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery Foundation. He also has conducted clinical trials with funding from Pfizer, Elan, and Eli Lilly, Inc.

He serves as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration, and Foundations that include the Michael J Fox Foundation, the Bright Focus Foundation, and the American Federation for Aging Research. He serves on advisory boards for academic research groups and pharmaceutical companies.

Research areas

  1. Biological markers for Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s DIsease and neurodegenerative disorders:
    Dr Galasko helped develop tests to measure biomarkers related to AD in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), notable amyloid-beta protein (A-beta42) and Tau protein. These are now widely used in research and clinical practice to improve the accuracy of diagnosis of AD. He helped in studies that validated measurements of alpha-synuclein in CSF as a diagnostic aid to Parkinson’s Disease. His current research aims to understand why and when changes in CSF and blood biomarkers begin and progress, and to identify new markers related to oxidative stress, inflammation and synaptic damage.
  2. Improved clinical diagnosis of AD, Dementia and subtypes and variants such as DLB:
    Dr Galasko has contributed to studies of clinical and neuropsychological tests and methods to improve diagnostic accuracy for AD, DLB and Fronto-temporal Dementia. He has helped to develop diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Fronto-Temporal dementia. He also participates in studies of genetic and other risk factors for AD and related disorders.
  3. Clinical assessment in AD, especially measuring progression and functional decline:
    Dr Galasko has investigated ways to measure clinical progression and factors that influence progression of cognitive and functional loss in AD, DLB and FTD. He found that progression in AD is influenced by age of onset, and that patients with DLB and FTD often show faster cognitive and functional decline than those with AD. Dr. Galasko developed an assessment instrument for activities of daily living (ADL) through the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS). This ADL instrument can discriminate among different levels of severity of AD and tracks longitudinal change. It has been widely used in NIH- and industry-sponsored multi-center AD clinical trials.
  4. Clinical trials to improve the treatment of AD:
    As a member of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), a NIH-funded Consortium that conducts clinical trials in AD, Dr Galasko has participated in designing trials for a variety of interventions. He has directed multi-Center clinical trials of antioxidants in AD, and a trial of an inhibitor of the Receptor for Advanced Glycation Endproducts.
  5. ALS-Parkinson Dementia Complex of Guam:
    From 1998-2009, Dr. Galasko led a NIA-funded study of neurodegenerative diseases in Micronesia. This project examined ALS and the Parkinson's-dementia complex in the Chamorro people of Guam. This study identified novel genetic risk factors and investigated interactions with environmental factors that had been present on Guam when these neurodegenerative problems were at their peak, for about 10 years after World War II.

Recent Publications

Nation DA, Edland SD, Bondi MW, Salmon DP, Delano-Wood L, Peskind ER, Quinn JF, Galasko DR. Pulse pressure is associated with Alzheimer biomarkers in cognitively normal older adults. Neurology. 2013 Nov 13.

Lineweaver TT, Bondi MW, Galasko D, Salmon DP. Effect of Knowledge of APOE Genotype on Subjective and Objective Memory Performance in Healthy Older Adults.  Am J Psychiatry. 2013. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12121590.

Wang LY, Murphy RR, Hanscom B, Li G, Millard SP, Petrie EC, Galasko DR, Sikkema C, Raskind MA, Wilkinson CW, Peskind ER. Cerebrospinal fluid norepinephrine and cognition in subjects across the adult age span. Neurobiol Aging. 2013.

Wang Y, Shi M, Chung KA, Zabetian CP, Leverenz JB, Berg D, Srulijes K, Trojanowski JQ, Lee VM, Siderowf AD, Hurtig H, Litvan I, Schiess MC, Peskind ER, Masuda M, Hasegawa M, Lin X, Pan C, Galasko D, Goldstein DS, Jensen PH, Yang H, Cain KC, Zhang J. Phosphorylated α-synuclein in Parkinson's disease. Sci Transl Med. 2012;4(121):121ra20

Cruchaga C, Kauwe JS, Harari O, Jin SC, Cai Y, Karch CM, Benitez BA, Jeng AT,  Skorupa T, Carrell D, Bertelsen S, Bailey M, McKean D, Shulman JM, De Jager PL, Chibnik L, 229. Bennett DA, Arnold SE, Harold D, Sims R, Gerrish A, Williams J, Van Deerlin VM, Lee VM, Shaw LM, Trojanowski JQ, Haines JL, Mayeux R, Pericak-Vance MA, Farrer LA, Schellenberg GD, Peskind ER, Galasko D, Fagan AM, Holtzman DM, Morris JC; GERAD Consortium; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI); Alzheimer Disease Genetic Consortium (ADGC), Goate AM. GWAS of Cerebrospinal Fluid Tau Levels Identifies Risk Variants for Alzheimer's Disease. Neuron. 2013;78:256-68.

Wagner SL, Tanzi RE, Mobley WC, Galasko D. Potential Use of γ-Secretase Modulators in the Treatment of Alzheimer Disease. Arch Neurol. 2012 Jul 16:1-4.

Galasko D, Peskind E, Clark CM, Quinn JF, Ringman JM, Jicha GA, Cotman C, Cottrell B, Montine TJ, Thomas RG, Aisen P, for the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study. Antioxidants for Alzheimer’s Disease: a randomized clinical trial with CSF biomarker measures. Archives of Neurology, 2012

See more at PubMed