Florence Lai, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Dr. Lai graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and is board certified in Neurology and Psychiatry with special qualifications in Child Neurology. She trained in Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein Hospital/Jacobi Medical Center and finished a Child Neurology residency at Boston University/Boston City Hospital. She served as medical director of the Fernald Medical program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center where she headed a teaching program in developmental disabilities for Neurology and Pediatrics residents and was honored with a teaching award. It was at EKS that she developed her keen interest in adults with Down syndrome and published a large prospective study of Alzheimer disease in Down syndrome in 1989, considered a “seminal” paper.
Dr. Lai founded the Aging and Developmental Disabilities Clinic at McLean/Massachusetts General Hospitals in 1994, devoted mainly to adults with Down syndrome who have an especially high risk for Alzheimer disease, and has personally evaluated and followed more than 750 patients. She was chosen to pilot an APOE genotyping study in adults with Down syndrome and published its results.
In addition to consulting on several federal studies on Down syndrome, Dr. Lai was the site PI for the first clinical trial in adults with Down syndrome using Vitamin E as a potential treatment for Alzheimer disease, and recruited over 70 participants of a total 350 among 24 sites. She is completing five years as the MGH site PI of the NIH study “Biomarkers of Alzheimer Disease in Adults with Down syndrome” and is active on the Clinical and Neuropathology cores. Dr. Lai also continues her pediatric neurology role in leading the MGH Learning Disorders Clinic devoted to children and young adults with learning disabilities and ADHD and derives great pleasure in their academic successes.