The Behavioral and Geriatric Neurology program focuses on patients with late-life, neurodegenerative disorders, especially those producing dementia. The program has clinical, educational, and research activities. In the area of clinical care, the program has a Memory Disorders Clinic for evaluation of late-life causes of dementia. Clinical evaluations are performed in the Clinical Neurosciences Center. Laboratory tests, brain imaging (e.g. Head CT, Brain MRI), and Neuropsychological testing are an important part of initial diagnostic evaluations. In selected patients, spinal fluid biomarkers and/or PET imaging can be used to help make a diagnosis in difficult cases. Genetic testing and counseling are available for patients and families with genetic forms of neurodegenerative diseases. The most common causes of dementia in our clinic are Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body Dementias (i.e. Dementia with Lewy Bodies or Parkinson’s disease with Dementia), Frontotemporal Dementias and Vascular Dementia.
Medical students, Neurology Residents and Geriatric Medicine Fellows rotate through the Memory Disorders Clinic each year. Continuing medical education lectures are given on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias locally, regionally, and nationally. The Behavioral and Geriatric Neurology program is active in clinical trials for new medications for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, including participation in national phase III clinical trials of the anti-amyloid, monoclonal antibody bapineuzumab. Study coordinators and research assistants from the Clinical Research Center (CRC) help implement these clinical trials. Other Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials are being conducted in collaboration with faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and the CRC including an NIH-supported, Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) trial of IGIV and an active vaccine trial for early Alzheimer’s disease. Health services and outcomes research is an important focus of the research program. This research includes studies of the cost-effectiveness of new therapeutic treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and studies of the impact of receiving quality dementia care. Finally, translational research investigating biomarkers and risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases is underway in the program.
Behavioral and Geriatric Neurology Program’s Mission Statement:
For patients with dementia, especially neurodegenerative dementias, we strive to:
- Provide the highest quality clinical care
- Educate students and practicing physicians about the care of patients with dementia
- Develop a nationally recognized clinical and translational research program
- Julie Pavelka, APRN
- Angela Gleason, PhD
Case Manager/Nursing Support:
- Sheila Heithoff, RN
- Cindy Penke, RN
- Courtney Green, MA
- Cindy Cowardin, RN, BSN
- Debi Kibbee