Yaakov Stern, PhD
Professor of Neuropsychology (in Neurology, in Psychiatry, in the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center and in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain) at CUMC
Director, Neurocognitive Science Division, Department of Neurology
Yaakov Stern is a Professor of Neuropsychology in the Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Psychology, and the Taub Institute for the Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Stern directs the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Department of Neurology and the post-doctoral training program Neuropsychology and Cognition in Aging.
Dr. Stern received his BA in Psychology from Touro College in 1975. He received his doctoral training in the Experimental Cognition Program at City University of New York, where he received his PhD in 1983. Dr. Stern began his association with Columbia University Medical Center in 1979, when he began working on his dissertation research on cognition in Parkinson's disease. After receiving his PhD, he was appointed postdoctoral research scientist in 1983, and eventually Professor in 1996.
To date, Dr. Stern has supervised 20 postdoctoral fellows. He has served on the editorial board of the journals Neuropsychology; and Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition and as associate editor of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. He is currently on the editorial board of The Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology and the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.
Cognitive Reserve: I am interested in understanding why some individuals show more cognitive deficit than others given the same degree of brain pathology. My own research, and that of others in the field, has shown that aspects of life experience, such as educational or occupational attainment, can impart reserve against brain pathology, allowing some people to maintain function longer than others. Ongoing imaging studies are designed to explore how this "cognitive reserve" is implemented in the brain.
Cognitive Intervention in Normal Aging: In parallel studies, we are exploring potential non-pharmacologic interventions that might improve cognition or cognitive/functional outcomes in normal aging. These include aerobic exercise and experimental videogames.
Cognitive Aging: In a new study, we are trying to understand why some cognitive processes are more affected by aging then others. Age-related change as measured by cognitive tasks can summarized into four domains, or latent variables. We are imaging individuals, from 20 through 80 years of age, with 12 tasks, 3 from each domain, and trying to dermine if we can identify a common neyral substrate for each domain. We can then invsetgate how these netwoks are affected by aging.
Heterogeneity of Alzheimer's Disease: I am conducting a study designed to explore individual differences in the rate of decline and in the manifestation of cognitive, behavioral, psychiatric, and neurologic features in patients with Alzheimer's disease. One aim of the study is to produce algorithms for the prediction of important disease endpoints in individual patients.