The head of the Division of Memory Disorders of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), neurologist David Geldmacher, M.D. recently created the UAB Alzheimer's Risk Assessment and Intervention Clinic, which is the first of its kind in the country. With the main purpose of helping not only patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but also their caregivers - often their spouses or adult children - the facility was born out of Dr. Geldmacher's observation of patients and caregivers' need for more effective teaching and guidance.
The creation of the Intervention Clinic is based on international studies that demonstrate the risk factors for dementia. Within the facility, patients will be offered a detailed, personalized risk assessment, including family history, a memory assessment, cognitive testing, and a baseline MRI scan. The data from those exams are then factored into existing risk-predictor models.
"I recognized the need for a dementia risk-assessment clinic because a lot of my time in the care of people with memory loss is spent advising people without memory loss how to protect themselves," explained Dr. Geldmacher. "It's about an hour-and-a-half process of collecting a detailed risk-factor history, and we fo