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For Too Many Families, Alzheimer’s Is Part of Every Day

On World Alzheimer’s Day and every day, AdventHealth clinicians and scientists are working to make the devastating disease a thing of the past.
Dr. Smith is AdventHealth's chief scientific officer.

Earlier this year, AdventHealth launched an international research study through a partnership with the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative, an organization leading an unprecedented global response to Alzheimer’s disease. This pilot study uses online digital cognitive assessment tools and a new blood test with the goal of earlier detection of the disease, allowing at-risk patients to begin treatment earlier.

Recently, Steven R. Smith, MD, AdventHealth's chief scientific officer, provided an update on the initiative.

“The potential impact of this study is enormous,” Dr. Smith told Orlando Medical News. “There are over 6 million Americans already living with Alzheimer’s disease and this is unfortunately expected to grow to 8.5 million by 2030. This study could help put affected people on the correct care pathway sooner, reducing the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the patient, caregivers, family and loved ones – something that already costs Americans an estimated $321 billion in care each year.”

Dr. Smith also recently joined Becker's Health Care Podcast to talk about the study.

AdventHealth is one of two sites in the U.S. and one of seven in the world to participate in a pilot program.
Dr. Baldivieso is a geriatrician who focuses on senior memory care and well-being at AdventHealth and is one of the investigators in the trial.

People who are interested in potentially joining the study may visit BrainHealthFlorida.com where they will be asked to take a short online cognitive assessment which uses images of playing cards. Those who qualify following the online assessment will be scheduled for a blood test to determine the presence of a specific biomarker that could help identify early Alzheimer’s. To qualify, residents must be 65 years of age or older and have not been diagnosed with dementia.

“We know the main risk factor in developing dementia, and specifically Alzheimer’s disease, is age,” said Valeria Baldivieso, MD, a geriatrician who focuses on senior memory care and well-being at AdventHealth and one of the investigators in the trial. “Many people in our older population think that cognitive changes are normal. But there is a difference between what is normal and what might be a sign of something more serious.

“It’s so important to have early detection so we can work with patients to take steps to keep dementia from progressing,” Dr. Baldivieso said.

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