Center for Memory Loss and Brain Health Sees Promises in Dementia Care

October 8, 2021

A diagnosis of a memory disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease is scary and impacts all aspects of a patient’s life, not to mention their family’s. The Center of Memory Loss and Brain Health at Hackensack University Medical Center aims to provide an innovative and holistic approach to support patients and families.

“We have an interprofessional program with a focus on brain health and prevention, including screening, diagnosis and providing comprehensive care that follows the patient and family throughout the course of memory impairment,” says Manisha Parulekar, M.D., co-director for the Center of Memory Loss and Brain Health, and division chief for geriatrics and associate professor of internal medicine at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

The center has assembled a team of experts from a variety of fields including:

  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Social work
  • Speech, physical and occupational therapy

New Hope for Dementia

The center’s mission not only focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of people with memory loss and their quality of life. We also see ourselves advancing medical care by offering our patients access to clinical trials that may lead to better treatment, such as the recently FDA-approved medication called Aduhelm (aducanumab) and many others.

Making Memory Care Inclusive

The Center’s involvement in clinical trials aims to not only help patients but also help the medical community at large by being more inclusive. Currently, ethnic minorities are not only often underserved medically, but are also not well represented in research, and this lack of representation may cause treatment plans and care for minority groups to be less effective.

The Center is a study site for the IDEAS study, which relates findings from a brain imaging technique called PET scan (positron emission tomography) to clinical and laboratory findings in an ethnically and clinically diverse group of participants with cognitive problems. “Our center is challenging itself to enroll at least 20 percent of participants from ethnic minorities,” says Florian Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., co-director for the Center for Memory Loss and Brain Health and professor and founding chair of the department of Neurology at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “For study finding to be applicable to the population at large, the ethnic distribution of participants must be similar to that of the population.”

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