UMC New Orleans to Launch Healthy Brain Aging Initiative

NEW ORLEANS — On July 1, LCMC Health hosted a press conference to mark the launch of the Healthy Brain Aging Initiative (HBAI) at University Medical Center New Orleans. The event took place at UMC’s downtown campus.

The program is designed to address cognitive health in aging patients. It will provide evaluations and treatment across three LCMC centers: The Center for Alzheimer’s Prevention provides care for people who don’t have symptoms but who have a greater risk for Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The Center for Memory Disorders provides care for people with symptoms of memory decline, mild cognitive impairment or dementia. And the Center for Movement Disorders provides care for people with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or related movement disorders.

“It’s all neurology, specialty-based clinical care, and now we are housing it all under one roof,” said Joseph Schonacher, UMC director of physician services. “We have the social worker in the same place as the physicians to easily help patients that might need different services. We’ll be adding new providers in the next few months, including things like a geriatrician and more nurse practitioners. So it’s going to be really creating a new home, consolidating and then growing this program to help support the needs across the whole state, even across Mississippi and Arkansas as well.”

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LCMC data shows there are 92,000 people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in Louisiana, and that Alzheimer’s prevalence is predicted to triple by 2050 in the U.S. Those numbers are what motivated LCMC leadership to envision the creation of the Healthy Brain Aging Initiative several years ago. One hope is that the program will create new opportunities to participate in clinical trials and cutting-edge research.

“We’re one of only a few institutions locally to fully integrate neurology, neurosurgery, neurointerventional radiology, neurorehabilitation, neuro-oncology, neuro-otology, and spine care through multidisciplinary collaboration,” said Alyana Samai, LCMC Health corporate vice president neuroscience service line.

“We can become a regional player and a destination of choice for neuroscience healthcare,” Schonacher said. 

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