RNI says COVID-19 has impacted Alzheimer’s disease treatment and research

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health field in several ways, and one area that has been severely affected by the virus is the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

That’s according to Dr Ali Rezai, executive chairman of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) at the University of West Virginia, who said the impact on patients and their families has been significant.

“People are more isolated, they don’t have as much interaction with their loved ones due to social distancing and isolation, which has had an impact on the care and management of Alzheimer’s disease “said Rezai. “More patients have died from Alzheimer’s disease than before. “

Due to the pandemic, Rezai said, between March and June, RNI had to stop enrolling new patients in its latest clinical trial using focused ultrasound to treat Alzheimer’s disease. He said they continued to care for the patients they were already treating, but shutting down for a few months was impractical.

However, RNI was able to resume its work in June and is now fully operational, having brought new topics.

Treating Alzheimer’s disease is essential, Rezai said, because it costs both patients and their loved ones dearly. In a show of support for the struggle to face, RNI lights up the roof of its building in purple for World Alzheimer’s Month, which is in September.

Right now in America, Rezai said, five million people have the disease and at this rate, that number is expected to triple by 2050. More than 38,000 people in West Virginia have Alzheimer’s disease. and, as a result, more than 100,000 family members and friends must provide care. All of this to say that there is a great need for care nationally and locally, West Virginia and RNI hope to provide that care, Rezai said.

These people need access to care and they need to be managed by doctors and teams that help them and often these people may not be optimally diagnosed and may not know how to get a comprehensive, coordinated assessment. That’s why, as part of another effort, we’ve now formed the state’s first comprehensive memory health center, here at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. It is a collaborative center that is the first of its kind in the state, where we have multidisciplinary clinical research, education services for patients and their families who are affected by memory and cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Ali Rezai – Executive Chairman, RNI

Rezai said RNI has brought together geriatric specialists, neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists, social workers and other professionals to truly provide comprehensive care in their facilities. In this way, every step, from diagnosis to treatment, including helping families and loved ones, is covered.

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