Skip to Content

WAI Faculty & Staff

Asenath La Rue, PhD
Senior Scientist


Contact information

Phone: 608-829-3308
Mailing address: Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, UW School of Medicine and Public Health, 7818 Big Sky Drive, Suite 215, Madison, WI 53719

Role at the WAI

Senior Scientist


Current WAI Projects: Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP), Memory Screening Initiatives, Brain Fitness/Take Charge



BA, 1968, Psychology, Luther College (Decorah, IA); MA and PhD, 1971, Developmental Psychology, University of Iowa



Dr. La Rue is a neuropsychologist with interests in both normal cognitive aging and dementia. She has been a faculty member of the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, and became a Senior Scientist at the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, Department of Medicine, UW-Madison in 2004. She has been a clinician, researcher and educator in the fields of aging and dementia for over 25 years and is also helping to care for a family member with dementia.


Research Interests

Cognitive aging; dementia and Alzheimer's disease; geriatric depression; neuropsychological assessment.


Research Description

Late life is characterized by great diversity in memory and other cognitive skills. Although a substantial proportion of older adults suffer from Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, a majority retain a high level of cognitive skills throughout the life span. Identifying factors that sustain and enhance cognitive well-being is a growing area of research interest which is best investigated through a prospective longitudinal approach.


Dr. La Rue's work has included collaborative research on several long-term longitudinal aging studies devoted to identifying risk and protective factors for cognitive well-being. One of her special interests has been research with family members of persons with Alzheimer's disease who may be at increased risk for cognitive decline due to shared genetic and environmental factors. The Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP) project of WAI---the largest project of this type---is an exciting opportunity to advance understanding of the interplay between genetic and lifestyle influences as they impact cognitive aging.


Other research interests include evaluation of cognitive assessment tools and programs which promote accurate identification of cognitive difficulties in health settings of all types.


Representative Publications

La Rue, A. Aging and Neuropsychological Assessment. New York: Plenum Press, 1992.


Spar, J.E., & La Rue, A. Concise Guide to Geriatric Psychiatry. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 2002. 2nd edition, 1997; 1st edition 1990.


Spar, J. E., & La Rue, A. Clinical Manual of Geriatric Psychiatry. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. In press 2005.

Research articles:


La Rue, A. and Jarvik, L.F. Reflections of biological changes in the psychological performance of the aged. Age, 1980, 3, 29-32.


La Rue, A., D'Elia, L., Clark, E.O., Spar, J.E. and Jarvik, L.F. Clinical tests of memory in dementia, depression, and healthy aging. Psychology and Aging, 1986, 1, 69-77.


La Rue, A., Watson, J., & Plotkin, D.P. Retrospective accounts of dementia symptoms: Are they reliable? The Gerontologist, 1992, 32, 240-245.


La Rue, A., Matsuyama, S.S., McPherson, S., Sherman, J., & Jarvik, L.F. Cognitive performance in relatives of patients with probable Alzheimer disease: An age at onset effect? Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 1992, 14, 533-538.


Small, G. W., Mazziotta, J. C., Collins, M. T., Baxter, L. R., Phelps, M. E., Mandelkern, M. A., Kaplan, A., La Rue, A., Adamson, C. F., Chang, L., Guze, B. H., Corder, E. H., Saunders, A. M., Haines, J. L., Pericak-Vance, M. A., & Roses, A. D. Apolipoprotein E type 4 allele and cerebral glucose metabolism in relatives at risk for familial Alzheimer disease. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1995, 273, 942-947.


Swan, G. E., Carmelli, D., & La Rue, A. Relationship between blood pressure during middle-age and cognitive impairment in old age: The Western Collaborative Group Study. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 3, 241-250, 1996.


La Rue, A., Koehler, K. M., Wayne, S. J., Chiulli, S. J., Haaland, K. Y., & Garry, P. J. Nutritional status and cognitive functioning in a normally aging sample: a 6-year reassessment. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 65, 20-29, 1997.


La Rue, A., Romero, L. J., Ortiz, I. E., Liang, H.-C., & Lindeman, R. D. Neuropsychological performance of Hispanic and non-Hispanic older adults: An epidemiologic survey. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 13, 474-486, 1999.


Jarvik, L. F., Harrison, T. R., Holt, L., Jimenez, E., Larson, S. W., La Rue, A., Matsuyama, S. S., Rasgon, N., Schaeffer, J., Steh, B., & Yaralian, P. Children of Alzheimer patients: More data are needed. Journal of Gerontology: Biological and Medical Sciences (letter), 2004, 59, 1076-1077.


Sager, M. A., Hermann, B. L., & La Rue A. Middle-aged children of persons with Alzheimer's disease: APOE genotypes and cognitive function in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 2005, 18, 245-249.


La Rue, A., Hermann, B. L., Jones, J. E., Johnson, S., Asthana, S., & Sager, M. A. Effect of parental family history of Alzheimer's disease on serial position profiles. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 2008, 4, 285-290.