About NCRI _backup

The NCRI primary mission is to promote and conduct translational research with aim of advancing the fundamental knowledge of brain impairment in neurological diseases.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, there are more than 600 neurological disorders of the central nervous system affecting an estimated 50 million Americans each year, contributing to 6.3% of the total Global Burden of Disease (WHO, 2014) with a projected 12% increase by 2030. Neurological disorders cause over 12% of total deaths globally, with 85% by cerebrovascular disease. Neurological conditions which cause considerable disability and burden to patients include neurocognitive disorders, neuroinfections, and neurological sequelae of infections (poliomyelitis, tetanus, meningitis, encephalitis, pertussis, malaria, etc.), tumor and developmental disorders, problems associated with nutritional deficiencies (such as iodine deficiency, diabetes mellitus, etc.) and neurological effects of injuries (accidents, poisoning, falls, fires, unintentional and intentional injuries).

While neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy are more well-known, others have proven difficult to define. For example, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) is a disease of unknown etiology and no known cure affecting an estimated 1 million Americans each year. Patients with ME/CFS often report that symptoms of cognitive impairment are one of the most debilitating aspects of the disease. Yet, less attention in the literature has been paid to underlying brain responses in cognitive impairment as reductions in cognitive performance are considered to be a sign of fatigue. To improve health and well-being for these patients, the NCRI conducts research designed to facilitate general understanding of the illness, creating new treatment options and clinical applications that go far beyond palliative care.

NCRI was founded in 2014 to promote several definitive goals including:

  1. Fostering translational research using innovative neuroimaging techniques helps to acquire new information that is critically important to defining relationships between symptoms and brain activity. This information will aid us in gaining new insights for developing imaging biomarkers, discovering disease mechanisms, and developing disease-modifying treatments, monitoring treatment progress, and obtaining more meaningful and sustained health outcomes.
  2. Conducting classification research to help identify and differentiate among similar clinical entities based on group differences in brain functioning as measured by neuroimaging methods. This line of research also seeks to establish neural mechanisms involved in various neurocognitive disorders to be distinguished from neuropsychiatric comorbidities.
  3. Conducting preclinical research, to develop and validate models predicting how the brain may react to multiple repeated insults in everyday life, to better understand how these insults affect cognition, and to practice prevention whenever possible, helping people know when to seek treatment. A number of cognitive deficits may be halted or even reversed if caught early on.
  4. Facilitating greater awareness in both medical community and general public as to the latest neuroscientific methods, findings, and treatments of neurocognitive diseases.

The NCRI currently has official non-profit 501(c)(3) status as a tax exempt charitable organization.


 About the Founder

Marcie Zinn, Ph.D. co-founded the NCRI with her husband, Mark, in 2015. Her research interests include the autonomic and cognitive neuroscience aspects of neurological conditions, to characterize the factors which underlie patient symptoms. Research projects she developed involve a combination of neuropsychological tests, biofeedback, and neuroimaging techniques for relating symptoms to brain activity. By measuring the coordinated activity of brain networks and the cardiovascular system, she explored hypotheses which predicted how the brain dysregulation can bring about fatigue states and extreme exhaustion. The brain can be conceptualized as a set of network systems whereby failure in one region leads to compensatory activity. For example, if one part of the network ceases to function well, the entire network is affected. Through her research, Marcie has developed network models for describing the clinical spectrum of cognitive impairment in patients with neurocognitive disorders. Her findings have important implications for a vast number of neurological diseases and conditions though quantification of cognitive impairment and adding to our fundamental knowledge of cognition, brain, and behavior.