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Alzheimer's researcher C.M. Clark dies

Christopher M. Clark, 65, of Philadelphia, a leading researcher on Alzheimer's disease as an associate professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, died of sarcoma Jan. 12, at the Wissahickon Hospice in Philadelphia.

Jason Karlawish, associate professor of medicine at Penn and, like Clark, a fellow at Penn's Institute on Aging, wrote in biographical notes that Clark's "research contributed to the clinical and scientific advances that moved [Alzheimer 's disease] from a poorly understood and rarely diagnosed disease to a widely recognized and common cause of late-life dementia."

Clark retired in January 2008 as director of the Penn Memory Center but remained director of the Center of Excellence for Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases, a Penn website states.

A Penn faculty member since 1989, Clark spent most of his career studying Alzheimer's disease, the website states.

He was "the current principal investigator of a National Institute on Aging grant, and an investigator for numerous other studies including the landmark Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative," according to the website.

Karlawish wrote that "he had a particular commitment to developing efficient methods for the early and reliable diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease that could be readily adopted into routine primary-care clinical practice."

Clark, with Douglas Eubanks at Penn, "codeveloped the Dementia Severity Rating Scale, a self-administered scale that a family member could complete and whose scores assisted in diagnosing dementia and mild cognitive impairment."

After retiring from Penn, Karlawish wrote, Clark was medical director for Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Co. His research at the firm, "published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2011, is regarded as being a landmark study for advancing clinically applicable Alzheimer's disease diagnostics," Karlawish wrote.

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