With the opening of the new Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (CCLRCBH), patients now have access to state-of-the-art care for cognitive disorders and for the family members of those who suffer from them.
Alzheimer’s Disease: Finding a Cure in the Desert
Las Vegas is very proud to be standing at the forefront of the fight against Alzheimer’s with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. While many of the current pharmaceutical treatments for Alzheimer’s have failed, there is exciting new hope being sparked in Las Vegas at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. According to Dr. Jeffery Cummings, Director of the Center, “the science behind the drugs being tested today is much stronger, our targets are better defined, and our methods more advanced. We now have a much better idea of the precise processes that generate the abnormal brain proteins, how they lead to cell death, and how they might be modified or arrested with treatment.”
New brain imaging techniques and spinal fluid tests are impacting drug development in a major way and are revolutionizing the way we think about Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). At the Center, these tests allow scientists to see the accumulation of the protein in the brain even before symptoms develop. Moreover, the new tests allow researchers to determine who among those with memory complaints ave the earliest form of AD. These biomarkers are transforming drug testing since they can identify patients early in the course of AD when treatment has the greatest impact and is most likely to succeed.
Early diagnosis is a major goal of the Center. With the assistance of brain scans and spinal fluid tests they now can confidently diagnose AD in persons with mild cognitive impairment. This allows patients to participate in critical life decisions before their intellect has declined or their judgment becomes ompromised. Early diagnosis also allows families to understand the changes they observe in a pouse or parent, to participate in counseling provided by the Center, and allows patients to make their own life-cycle decisions. In short, the advances have been so great that they have redefined AD, no longer requiring that the patient must meet criteria for “dementia” before a proper diagnose can be made. This change contributes greatly to quality-of-life issues.
The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is making genuine progress in developing new remedies. The brain is extraordinarily complex and there are many barriers to the development of new treatments. Only a few drugs will pass these hurdles, but if they are able to delay the onset of AD by five years, it would reduce the prevalence by 50 percent; a 10-year delay would make AD as unusual as polio is today. Presently, there are 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and this number is estimated to reach 16 million by the year 2050.
Like an oasis in the desert, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is bringing new hope and life to patients and families struggling with the onset of Alzheimer’s and other Neurocognitive disorders.
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