Our Website Has Moved!

The new address for the University of Kentucky College of Public Health is www.uky.edu/publichealth.

New Department Addresses
Health Behavior
Health Services Management
Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health

Photo of Dr. Kryscio

Dr. Richard J. Kryscio is Professor, Department of Statistics, Arts and Sciences and Chair, Department of Biostatistics, Public Health.  Research focuses on the application of applied probability to problems in public health with specific interests in clinical trials, spread of infectious diseases, spatial statistics, the clustering of diseases in space and time, missing data analysis, and statistical methodology in Alzheimer’s disease research including longitudinal data analysis. He served as a University Research Professor in the academic year 2007-2008. In addition, he has operated a successful biostatistics consulting unit for the Medical Center campus since 1989. As a statistical collaborator he has worked on 70 funded grants in the biomedical sciences in which he assumes responsibility for study design, power analysis, and data analysis. His basic and collaborative research has resulted in 180 publications in peer reviewed journals. Associate Editor of the Journal Neurology since 2004.  A Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) since 1995, served as President of the Kentucky Chapter of the ASA, and won the Chapter’s service recognition award in 2000. He was program chair of the Southern Regional Committee on Statistics Summer Research Conference in 1995 and won its Paul Minton award for excellence in graduate education and service to the profession in 2006.   External Advisory Boards include the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers at University of Washington, University of Michigan, and the Einstein Aging Study and Data Safety Monitoring Boards for clinical trials in the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study Group and two private pharmaceutical companies. He regularly reviews research proposals for the National Institute on Aging with service on over 20 special emphasis review panels.

An estimated five million Americans are afflicted with some form of dementia and unless preventive measures are found this number is projected to grow to fourteen million by 2050 costing this country billions of dollars in care and lost wages through family and nursing home caregiving.  Since there is no effective treatment for dementia, most researchers now believe that prevention is the key to addressing this potential  crisis.  Biostatistics research at the University of Kentucky is motivated by data encountered at our Alzheimer’s Disease Center (ADC), a federally designated dementia center continuously funded by the National Institute on Aging since 1984. The Biostatistics and Data Management Core at this Center is responsible for assuring the quality of the data being collected at this center and as the one of first such cores in the country is providing national leadership in developing the emerging field of statistical methodology for Alzheimer’s Disease Research.

Two notable projects illustrate the focus of research in this core. The first addresses the prevention issue directly and is based on translational research (cellular, animal, and human brain autopsy studies) conducted here and at other such centers which identified oxidative stress as a potential mechanism for causing dementia [1]. PREADVISE or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease through the use of the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium is the largest prevention trial for dementia in this country enrolling 7,500 men aged 60 or older. The statistical design of this study is discussed in [2] below. The treatment phase of this trial had ended and an exposure study is being initiated to follow participants for incident cases.  The second project studies risk factors associated with the flow of elderly people from the intact cognitive state to dementia through intervening states involving mild cognitive impairments or deficits in activities of daily living.   An older person is 12-31 times more likely to convert to a dementia if he/she first visits one of these intervening states. The core has created and studied the properties of a novel Markov process for modeling the flow of individuals through these states accounting for risk factors associated with these transitions. The majority of older individuals will not convert to dementia even if they incur deficits providing a possible method for characterizing these individuals through their risk factors. This model has been applied to data from both the BRAiNS, biologically resilient adults in neurological studies, followed by this center [3], and the well known NUN Study also conducted at this center [4]. These applications and the Markov model are discussed in [5] and [6].

[1] Markesbery WR, Montine TJ, and Lovell MA. (2001) Oxidative alterations in neurodegenerative diseases. Totowa, NJ: Humana.
[2] Kryscio, R.J., Mendiondo, M.S., Schmitt, F.A., and Markesbery, W.R. (2004) Designing a large prevention trial: statistical issues. Statistics in Medicine, 23:285- 296.
[3] Schmitt, F.A., Wetherby, M.M., Wekstein, D.R., Dearth, C.M. and Markesbery, W.R. (2001) Brain donation in normal aging: procedures, motivations, and donor characteristics for the Biologically Resilient Adults in Neurological Studies (BRAiNS) Project. Gerontologist 41(6): 716-722.
[4] Snowdon, D. (2001) Aging with grace. Bantam Books, New York, New York,
[5] Salazar, J., Schmitt, F.A., Yu, L., Mendiondo, M., Kryscio, R.J. (2007) Shared random effects analysis of multi-state Markov models: application to a longitudinal study of transitions to dementia. Statistics in Medicine, 26: 568- 580.
[6] Tyas S L, Salazar J C, Snowdon D A , Desrosiers M F, Riley K P, Mendiondo, M S, Kryscio R J (2007) Transitions to mild cognitive impairment, dementia and death: findings from the NUN study. Am. J. Epidemiology, 165(11): 1231- 1238.