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Yaakov Stern


Yaakov Stern is a professor of clinical neuropsychology in the Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Psychology at the Taub Institute for the Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Stern also directs the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Sergievsky Center and is the director of neuropsychology for the Memory Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Stern's research focuses on a concept called cognitive reserve, which accounts for the individual differences in task performance, specifically why some individuals show more cognitive deficit than others given the same degree of brain pathology from Alzheimer's disease or given the same amount of sleep deprivation. Stern also studies potential non-pharmacologic interventions that might improve cognition in normal aging processes. 

Dr. Stern received his PhD in 1983 from the Experimental Cognition Program at City University of New York. He has served on the editorial board of the journals Neuropsychology; and Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition. He is currently on the editorial board of The Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology and is associate editor of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.





Cognitive Reserve: I am interested in understanding the basis for individual differences in task performance in general, and more specifically, the reason why some individuals show more cognitive deficit than others given the same degree of brain pathology. Ongoing fMRI studies are designed to explore this issue using activation paradigms that carefully control for task difficulty and evaluating differential expression of brain networks across young and old healthy individuals and patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Cognitive Intervention in Normal Aging: In parallel studies, we are exploring potential non-pharmacologic interventions that might improved cognition or cognitive/functional outcomes in normal aging. These include aerobic exercise and experimental videogames.
Heterogeneity of Alzheimer's disease: A prospective study is designed to explore individual differences in the rate of decline and in the manifestation of cognitive, behavioral, psychiatric and neurologic features in AD patients. Ongoing clinicopathologic studies should give insight into this heterogeneity.