At least I hope they will come. Brian Cummings presented an overview of a web-based database for Alzheimer’s cases (known as the Neuropathological Examination Research Database or NERD) that could serve as a model for other AD centers (Abstract 679.7). The database has been under development for some time and is now available online at www.alz.uci.edu/nerdplus. A simple registration process is required to use the service. I was able to get into the database in less than five minutes. Dr. Cummings highlighted the major features of the site, which provides detailed (but anonymous) information on patients' clinical history as well as key data points relating to vital statistics and neuropathological features. The site is designed to provide access to summary data with easy navigation to more specific information as needed. It is also possible to carry out advanced searches which permit selection of cases based on any of several criteria. When I tried it out, I found it to be easy to navigate and well-organized. A feature I found especially useful is the extensive database of neuropathological images. As someone who has obtained tissue from the UCI brain bank, I can attest to the high quality of service and support provided by this group. The development of this online database is further evidence of the commitment of this center to broader service to the AD research community. The plan is to add data provided by investigators who carry out studies with tissue provided by the center. This is an important development that will no doubt accelerate the pace of research by providing more access and exchange of data. When an aging neuroanatomist like myself can figure out how to make use of a system like this, need I say more?-Keith Crutcher.
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