Davangere P. Devanand, MD

Geriatric Psychiatry
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Dr. Davangere P. Devanand is the Director of Geriatric Psychiatry and a Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center. Further, Dr. Devanand is an attending psychiatrist at both the New York State Psychiatric Institute and New York Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Devanand is the co-founder of the Memory Disorders Center, where the goal is to evaluate, treat, and follow patients who have mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and related disorders. Clinical research studies, including treatment and investigational studies (e.g., PET, MRI and CSF studies) funded primarily by NIH and secondarily by industry, are conducted with patients (and controls).

Dr. Devanand obtained his medical degree from Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. He then completed his psychiatry residency training from S.U.N.Y. Upstate Medical Center as well as Yale University School of Medicine, where he was Chief Resident. Following his residency, Dr. Devanand completed research fellowships in the Division of Biological Psychiatry and then in Clinical Neuroscience, both at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. At present, in addition to the roles indicated above, Dr. Devanand serves as a research mentor for faculty, post-doctoral fellows, psychiatry residents, and graduate students at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Devanand is currently on four editorial boards, including the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinsonism, American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, and International Psychogeriatrics. He has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, many of which have been published in leading journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Annals of Neurology, Neurology, Archives of General Psychiatry, and the American Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Devanand has also authored and co-authored three books which are entitled, The Interface between Depression and Dementia (Roose & Devanand, 1998), Treatment of Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (Devanand & Lawlor, 2000), and The Memory Program (Devanand, 2001).

He has received several prestigious awards, including the International Psychogeriatrics Association Research Award (1991), the Indo-American Psychiatric Association Distinguished Scientist Award (2000), the American Psychiatric Association Jack Weinberg Memorial Award in Geriatric Psychiatry (2014), the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry Distinguished Investigator Award (2015), and the American College of Psychiatrists Award for Research in Geriatric Psychiatry (2017).

Dr. Devanand is also well-known in the field for his research on mild cognitive impairment, depression, ECT, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and agitation and aggression within these disorders. In fact, his studies have been funded by grants awarded from the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Mental Health, Alzheimer’s Association, NARSAD, and the Dana Foundation. More specifically, his research has aided in the diagnosis and treatment of dysthymic disorder among elderly participants, as well as the relationship between depression and cognitive impairment in the same patient demographic. His research has also been remarkable in detecting biological indicators of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as exploring treatment options for those experiencing psychosis and agitation in this disease.

Further, Dr. Devanand has conducted several treatment trials, including the landmark study on antipsychotic discontinuation in Alzheimer’s disease, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Devanand has remained active clinically as a psychiatrist throughout his career and has been on the New York and U.S. Best Doctors lists for over a decade. Dr. Devanand has been interviewed and his research findings have been featured in several media outlets including CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and online via Reuters, AP, Medscape, and several other online publications.

Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated

  • Age-Related Cognitive Decline
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Depression

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Psychiatry (in Neurology and in the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center) at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Director of Geriatric Psychiatry

Hospital Affiliations

  • NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center


  • Male

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Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • State University of New York
  • Residency: State University of New York - Downstate Medical Center
  • Residency: Yale University Hospital

Board Certifications

  • Psychiatry
  • Geriatric Psychiatry

Honors & Awards

2001 Distinguished Scientist Award, Indo-American Psychiatric Association
2003-present: listed in Best Doctors in America, Best Doctors in New York
2014 American Psychiatric Association Jack Weinberg Memorial Award in Geriatric Psychiatry
2015 American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry Distinguished Investigator Award

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Research interests include treatment strategies for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, including treatment of psychosis and agitation in these disorders. Other interests include early diagnostic markers of Alzheimer's disease, and the interface between depression and cognitive impairment.

Current Studies

Anti-viral therapy in Alzheimer’s disease PI: Dr. Davangere Devanand, MD

Anti-viral therapy in Alzheimer’s disease is investigating the efficacy of treating patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with the U.S.A marketed generic antiviral drug valacyclovir. Valacyclovir at 2g to 4g daily, repurposed as an anti-AD drug, is being compared to matching placebo in the treatment of 130 mild AD patients (65 valacyclovir, 65 placebo) who test positive for herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV1) or herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV2). The study is a randomized, double-blind, 18-month Phase II proof of concept trial. This study is funded by the NIH.

For more information, please contact the Memory Disorders Clinic at (646) 774-8665.  


Valacyclovir for Mild Cognitive Impairment (VALMCI)
PI: Dr. Davangere Devanand, MD

Anti-viral treatment in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a Phase II, placebo-controlled, 52-week trial using oral valacyclovir 4 g/day in 50 HSV seropositive, AD biomarker-positive, amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients (eMCI and lMCI). The trial will directly address the long-standing viral etiology hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) which posits that viruses, particularly the very common herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV1) and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV2), may be etiologic or contribute to the pathology of AD. This trial will intervene at an earlier stage (MCI). We will compare the repurposed drug valacyclovir to placebo in patients with amnestic MCI (eMCI and lMCI) in a randomized, double-blind, two-arm parallel group 52-week pilot trial. Our Phase II trial will be the first antiviral drug trial conducted in MCI.

For more information, please contact the Memory Disorders Clinic at (646) 774-8665. 


Escitalopram for Agitation in Alzheimer’s disease PI: Dr. Davangere Devanand, MD

This study involves a 12-week double-blind treatment trial in which adult outpatients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) who have agitation/aggression may receive escitalopram or placebo in combination with a psychosocial intervention. Participants will be closely monitored by physicians who specialize in memory disorders. After completing the 12-week double blind trial, participants will receive open treatment with Escitalopram for 12 weeks, if clinically indicated. This study is funded by the NIH.

For more information, please contact Izael Nino at 646-774-8671.


Testing Olfaction in Primary Care to detect Alzheimer's disease and other Dementias (TOPAD)

Dr. Devanand and Dr. Jose Luchsinger, MD are multiple PIs on this project. The goal of this project is to test the 12-item BSIT, a short, standardized version of the 40-item University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT), for detection of dementia among elderly persons with cognitive concerns in a community-based primary care setting, in response to PAR-15-359 (Novel Approaches to Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease and Predicting Progression), and its second aim: “Identifying new biomarkers that are minimally invasive, inexpensive, usable in community settings”.


Olfactory Impairment in Offspring Study of Racial Disparities in Alzheimer's disease

We plan to test the 12-item BSIT, a short, standardized, cross-culturally validated subset of the 40-item University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT), in an add-on study to the recently funded project “Offspring study of mechanisms for racial disparities in Alzheimer's disease." Middle-aged offspring (ages 40-64) of parents who participated in the Washington Heights Inwood Columbia Aging Project (WHICAP) are being studied with clinical and neuropsychological evaluation (n=3,000), high-resolution structural MRI (n=1,000), and Aβ PET (n=150).

Research Interests

  • Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline
  • Neuropsychiatry/Cognitive Disorders


“Treatment of Psychosis and Agitation in Alzheimer’s disease”: 5/15/2014-1/31/2020.