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DELRAY BEACH (CBS4) – A new case of Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed every 70 seconds in America. South Florida is ground zero for the disease and that’s why one of the largest private facilities to treat it is here in the area.
Laura Jones started noticing changes in her husband Jay about eight-years-ago.
“He was 46 at the time. They started as personality changes,” Laura said. “He started to become increasingly agitated and argumentative. Basically, he turned into someone other than the man I married.”
After years of wondering what was going on, the couple finally received an official diagnosis. Jay was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“We left the office and we looked at each other and literally started sobbing,” Laura said.
Jay and Laura went to the Brain Research Institute in Delray Beach for help. It’s also referred to as Brain Matters Research.
Director Dr. Mark Brody, who is also a neurologist, said the institute provides a diagnosis for clients as well as prevention and treatment. Brody admits the first sign of Alzheimer’s can often be a change in personality.
“He’s forgetful that’s a hallmark of the disease losing his glasses, wallet, keys, doesn’t remember where the car is,” Dr. Brody said.
According to Dr. Brody, that combination of symptoms is considered Dementia and Alzheimer’s is one of the worst forms of Dementia.
Identifying the signs and key risk factors can lead to prevention and earlier treatment.
“Anywhere from specific genes to vascular risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, the lack of exercise, smoking,” Dr. Brody said.
Age is also a risk factor and so is stress.
Folks who join the Brain Institute are given iPads with brain exercises. In addition blood pressure, cholesterol levels and brain activity are remotely monitored 24/7 for convenience.
While progress has been made in better diagnosing the disease; now the hope is to gather data for improved treatment and ultimately a cure.
“We can’t make people better right now our best hope is to stop it in its tracks,” Dr. Brody said.
Treatment at the Brain Research Institute is not covered by insurance, but that may change. It’s estimated 20% of the Medicare/Medicaid budget over the next 10 years will be devoted to Alzheimer’s care.
For more information on the Brain Research Institute call 561-374-8461.