New local treatment program for Alzheimer’s patients

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 5, 2016

By Taylor Welsh
Picayune Item

More than 5 million Americans may be living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institute of Aging. Methods of care for patients are limited. But, a new study may enhance treatment to those diagnosed, called the Imaging Dementia—Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) study.
This study focuses on brain images that help physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, not only quicker, but also more accurately, something residents of Picayune and Poplarville could benefit from, according to a Hattiesburg Clinic release. The images show the amount of amyloid plaque build-up in the patient’s brain, captured via PET scans, according to a release.
Amyloid is a protein normally found in the body, however it can accumulate outside of the membrane, surrounding nerve cells, becoming toxic for the brain according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Hattiesburg Clinic Memory Center is the only facility within a 300-mile radius offering the IDEAS study to eligible participants, according to a release. Picayune and Poplarville residents could benefit from the Memory Center if eligible. Those that are eligible must be patients over the age of 65 and be patients of Medicare.
“My hope is that this study will pave the way to changing the landscape for how we treat Alzheimer’s patients and provide them with the best quality of life possible for as long as we can,” said Ronald Schwartz, MD, CPI, director and principal investigator of the Memory Center at the Hattiesburg Clinic in a release.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, Schwartz said that early treatment can slow the progression of the disease and possibly lead to different treatments for patients.
According to the IDEAS study website, the study will address two goals. One is to assess the impact of short-term progression of amyloid buildup. The other is to assess the impact of amyloid PET over 12 months by conducting medical checkups, such as hospital admissions and emergency room visits, according to the IDEAS website.
“We anticipate that results from the study will greatly inform future treatment and coverage decisions that can benefit countless Americans and others around the world,” said Gil Rabinovici, M.D., IDEAS study principal investigator.

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