One of the world’s most cited scientist in Alzheimer’s research is also the dean of the college of sciences at UTSA. Dr. George Perry is one of the top 20 researchers in Alzheimer’s disease.
He has also published more on the subject than any other researcher in the United States. Internationally, he is surpassed only by Dr. Bengt Winblad of Sweden in total number of articles written.
“It’s quite an honor to compete in such a dynamic field,” Perry said.
Perry became involved in Alzheimer’s research in 1982, after a number of years as a marine biologist. He claims it was an easy transition.
“There is very little difference in marine biology and what I study now. In Marine Biology, I studied Oxidative Stress at the beginning of life. Now I study it at the end of life,” Perry said.
Perry explains that the idea of Oxidative Stress started 50 years ago. It postulates that we get older because of Oxidative Stress, in much the same way a nail becomes rusty.
Oxygen is actually quite toxic even though it’s essential for life.
“The idea of rusting away isn’t that far off,” Perry said.
“The body’s balance between the attack of the oxygen radicals and the body’s defense against them is known as Oxidative Stress.”
Perry clarifies that there is a newer theory on Oxidative Stress that is much more complicated and involves a reversal in the balance between oxygen, as well as the body’s defense and use of it.
Perry describes how Alzheimer’s affects the entire body.
“We’ve seen some of the same changes that occur in neurons in the brain occur in skin cells throughout the body,” Perry said.
Perry says that after age 65 there is a doubling of new cases of Alzheimer’s.
“Very few people before 60 have Alzheimer’s; those that do are mostly because of genetic causes,” Perry said.
He explains that people with Diabetes or Parkinson’s have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s, as there are a lot of parallels between the three conditions. Perry says that the co-occurrence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s is known as Fused Lewy Body Disease.
Perry joined the UTSA faculty in 2006 from Case Western Reserve University where he was a Professor of Pathology and Neurosciences and the Chair of the Department of Pathology.
He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, published at UTSA. The Journal is rated 34 of 200 by Journal Citation Reports.
Perry published two books on Alzheimer’s Research. The first book was published in 2006, is titled “Alzheimer’s Disease: A Century of Scientific And Clinical Research.”
It marked the centennial of the separation of the disease from dementia and served as a look back on the research that had been conducted on the disease.
His second published work in 2009, is titled “Current Hypotheses and Research Milestones in Alzheimer’s Disease,” he co-wrote with Ricardo B. Maccioni, a Chilean doctor.
Most notably he received the “Harman Research Award” in 2008. This award is only presented to those who have made significant contributions to biomedical aging research.