Hackensack Meridian Health Conducting Research on Alzheimer’s Disease Through Multiple Clinical Trials as Well as Providing Patients with Preventive Care

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Month 

Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center and the hospital’s Center for Memory Loss and Brain Health are conducting research for Alzheimer’s Disease through four clinical trials with the goal of addressing and improving the current gaps in knowledge of treatment and diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that results in weakened brain connections and loss of brain cells and is currently ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.  Marked as the most common cause of dementia among older adults in the U.S., it is imperative to unravel the intricacies of this disease.

The first study Hackensack University Medical Center is participating in is to determine if amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) is a useful tool to guide decision-making in the management of patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia of uncertain etiology.

Amyloid PET detects amyloid plaques in the brain, a core neuropathological feature of Alzheimer’s disease. The new Imaging Dementia—Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (New IDEAS) Study will follow up on results from the original IDEAS study to assess the value of brain PET scans in diagnosing and managing Alzheimer’s disease. This study focuses on enrolling for a diverse group, currently, the study is open to all patient populations. 

The second trial Hackensack University Medical Center is conducting involves ATH-1017, an investigational medication for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This phase -3 study will determine the safety and effectiveness of ATH-1017 to improve cognition in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. 

The third trial is enrolling patients in the multicenter S-Citad clinical trial to study the safety and efficacy of Escitalopram, an antidepressant, for the treatment of agitation related to Alzheimer’s disease. This study is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and will help address this difficult and common clinical condition in Alzheimer’s to improve the lives of our patients and their families.

In the fourth trial, Hackensack University Medical Center is studying the effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in the EVOKE study. The randomized, controlled pilot study focuses on the efficacy and safety of PEMF for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The biological effectiveness of PEMF signals (a small range) have been well documented over the last century for effectiveness and safety. The FDA has cleared PEMF devices for treating pain, edema, osteoarthritis and plantar fasciitis, and PEMF is reimbursed by Medicare for treating chronic wounds.

PEMF also is shown to improve outcomes in both acute and chronic neurological diseases, but only one small pilot trial in the clinical setting has focused on the treatment’s use in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

“We are proud to provide our communities with access to these pioneering clinical trials,” said Manisha Parulekar, M.D., FACP, AGSF, CMD, director of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Participating in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research puts us one step closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Additionally, Hackensack University Medical Center’s Center for Memory Loss and Brain Health is providing preventative care for patients. With the number of New Jersey residents living with Alzheimer’s disease projected to rise in the coming years, the Center has assembled an expert team of fellowship-trained physicians from neurology and geriatrics to provide the following:  

  • Cognitive health assessment 
  •  Coordination of a lifestyle plan that can benefit brain health and protect against memory problems.
  • Counseling psychologists and social workers who can help with the emotional effects of cognitive impairment and access to community resources.
  • Ongoing communication with primary care provider to maintain continuity of care

This National Alzheimer’s Disease Month, please help spread the word about the latest advances Hackensack University Medical Center is making in the fight against this devastating disease.

For more information on these clinical trials, visit:  www.clinicaltrials.gov and search Hackensack University Medical Center or click the links above. 

For an interview, contact [email protected]

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