Overview of Interests
As the population ages, the number of individuals affected by age-related diseases increase, and Alzheimer's disease is a major public health concern for aging adults. The life of an individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease halves in expectancy compared to their cognitively normal counterpart, and it is complicated by the loss of independence. Furthermore, individuals with Down syndrome, by age 40, are likely to exhibit biological markers of Alzheimer’s disease, putting them at a disproportionate risk of developing this debilitating disease. Dr. Jefferson's research focuses on two main areas - first, she is interested in how cardiovascular health (namely, function and stiffening) affects brain aging, including cerebral small vessel disease, and clinical outcomes (e.g., cognitive impairment, dementia). Second, she is interested in the complex interplay among cerebrovascular changes, AD pathology, and concomitant pathways on clinical outcomes.