New fa­cil­ity to fo­cus on Alzheimer’s

Cen­ter at UNM Health Sci­ences is first in the re­gion

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM - BY ROS­ALIE RAY­BURN JOUR­NAL STAFF WRITER

Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico Health Sci­ences Cen­ter of­fi­cially opened its Mem­ory and Ag­ing Cen­ter this week, of­fer­ing com­pre­hen­sive clin­i­cal and re­search ser­vices for the 43,000 New Mex­i­cans liv­ing with Alzheimer’s dis­ease and other forms of de­men­tia.

The cen­ter is one of seven sim­i­lar fa­cil­i­ties in the coun­try, but the only one of its kind in Moun­tain West states. It is funded through a five-year grant from the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health worth $1 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

Cen­ter Direc­tor Dr. Gary Rosen­berg told a group of health care pro­fes­sion­als who gath­ered for the grand open­ing Wed­nes­day that the es­tab­lish­ment of the cen­ter was “per­fect tim­ing.” He said the U.S. and coun­tries around the world are fac­ing a “huge prob­lem” as their pop­u­la­tions age.

“As peo­ple age, the No. 1 dis­ease that at­tacks them is de­men­tia,” Rosen­berg said.

The cen­ter brings to­gether spe­cial­ists from the de­part­ments of neu­rol­ogy, in­ter­nal medicine and psy­chi­a­try. They can pro­vide neu­ro­log­i­cal eval­u­a­tions, treat­ment plans and fam­ily re­sources. The cen­ter also con­ducts re­search, in­clud­ing clin­i­cal tri­als for new drugs be­ing de­vel­oped for Alzheimer’s and other brain dis­eases.

It has part­ner­ships with UNM’s Mind Re­search Cen­ter, which has ad­vanced imaging and lab­o­ra­tory fa­cil­i­ties. It also works closely with the New Mex­ico Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion, which of­fers free ser­vices and re­sources to care­givers fac­ing the dis­ease.

Rosen­berg said pa­tients can be re­ferred to the cen­ter by their pri­mary doc­tor. Most in­sur­ance plans will be ac­cepted, in­clud­ing Med­i­caid and Medi­care. If a pa­tient agrees to par­tic­i­pate in clin­i­cal trial pro­grams, and they qual­ify for a study, they may re­ceive ser­vices that are part of the pro­gram at no cost.

Clin­i­cal ser­vices are pro­vided at UNM Clin­i­cal Neu­ro­sciences Cen­ter at UNM Hos­pi­tal, 900 Camino de Salud NE. Re­search is con­ducted at Domenici Hall, 1101 Yale NE. phone num­ber is 505-272-3735.

ROS­ALIE RAY­BURN/JOUR­NAL

Ni­cole Maphis, a re­search as­sis­tant at UNM Health Sci­ences Cen­ter, shows an im­age of an an­i­mal brain. Maphis is work­ing on find­ing a vac­cine for Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

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