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Brain Health Center
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: Aging, Answers and a Way to Support
May 31, 2020 By Emory Brain Health Center

Worldwide, 50 million people are living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Alzheimer’s disease does not discriminate amongst those affected, and as we get older, our risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias grows. Learn the facts and get more information about this disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It makes up 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging — it’s a progressive brain disease, meaning it gets worse over time. Alzheimer’s disease causes brain cells to degenerate. Two abnormal brain structures called plaques and tangles are the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid plaques are clumps of protein fragments that accumulate outside of cells in the brain. Neurofibrillary tangles are clumps of altered proteins inside cells. These [...]

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Brain Health Center
Seek Care for Heart Attack, Stroke in the Emergency Room
May 8, 2020 By Emory Brain Health Center

ambulance at emergency room entranceAccording to a poll conducted in part by the American College of Emergency Physicians, nearly a third of American adults (29 percent) say that they have delayed or avoided medical care because they are concerned about contracting COVID-19. Waiting to see a doctor in a medical emergency could be life-threatening, and while it’s important to follow social distancing guidelines, it’s critical to know when to go to the emergency department. Heart attacks and strokes still happen, even during a global pandemic. Health officials around the country are reporting a decline in individuals seeking care in emergency rooms (ER) despite the fact that heart attack and stroke rates are not declining. A heart attack or stroke can happen at any time. And no matter when it occurs, calling 9-1-1 and going to the ER is still the best place to get lifesaving treatment.

Safe, Proven Treatment

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Brain Health Center
Stroke Awareness: Know the Signs, Symptoms & Treatments
May 6, 2020 By Emory Brain Health Center

Stroke symptomsStrokes are serious medical emergencies that require immediate care. Prompt treatment can reduce damage to the brain and lessen other complications. During a stroke, the blood supply to part of your brain is blocked or reduced, causing brain cells to die within minutes because they’re not getting the oxygen and nutrients they need.

How Common Are Strokes?

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America. It can occur at any age, but people over the age of 65 are at the highest risk. There’s also a nine-state region, known as the Stroke Belt (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee), recognized by public health officials for having a higher rate of stroke.

Risk Factors

A stroke can happen to anyone, at any age. But it’s important to note that smoking and high blood pressure cause half of all [...]

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Brain Health Center
Brain Aneurysm: What You Need to Know
Feb 20, 2020 By Emory Brain Health Center

dr daniel barrowBrain aneurysms are often known as “ticking time bombs” — and for good reason. If they rupture, the consequences can be serious. Most people don’t know that more than one in 50 Americans is currently living with an un-ruptured brain aneurysm; however, many of them will live their life without ever being affected by the aneurysm. “An aneurysm is a weak spot in the wall of an artery that has ballooned out,” says Daniel Barrow, MD, Rollins professor & chairman and director of the Emory MBNA Stroke Center. “We don’t know why people get them, but we do know that they’re more common in women than men and that about 15 percent of people with aneurysms have a strong family history.” Brain aneurysm symptoms are also tricky to pinpoint, ranging from no symptoms at all to the worst headache you’ve ever had. Previously undetected aneurysms are often diagnosed during [...]

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Brain Health Center
Innovative Research: Freezing the Hunger Nerve in the Brain for Weight Loss
Jan 23, 2020 By Emory Brain Health Center

Dr J David Prologo with a patientAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the obesity epidemic is at an all-time high, with almost 40 percent of Americans qualifying as obese. It’s no surprise that the diet industry has capitalized on this startling statistic. Each year, more than 45 million Americans go on diet plans or utilize diet products, making it a $70 billion industry. Experts estimate that only about five percent of dieters can keep the weight off long-term. Many dieters wish there was a way to “turn off” the hunger signal – and, thanks to David Prologo, MD, interventional radiologist at Emory University School of Medicine, freezing the hunger nerve in the brain might soon become an innovative new treatment option for adults who need to lose weight.

Can the Hunger Signal in Your Brain be Turned Off?

Dr. Prologo – who is also board certified in obesity medicine [...]

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Brain Health Center
Jerry Grillo’s Story: Surviving and Recovering from a Cerebellar Stroke
Dec 18, 2019 By Emory Brain Health Center

jerry grillo in woodsI remember it like it was yesterday. Just before 7 p.m. on August 5, 2018, I was sitting in my living room, watching TV with my wife and son, when the sound of the TV faded away and was replaced by what sounded like the buzz of a thousand bees deep inside my right ear. The buzzing only lasted a few seconds but was followed with an all-consuming dizziness and nausea. I was having a cerebellar stroke.

What Is a Cerebellar Stroke?

A cerebellar stroke occurs when there’s a lack of blood flow to the part of the brain (cerebellum) that helps with body movement, eye movement and balance. They’re most commonly caused by blood clots, like mine was, but can also be caused by trauma. Cerebellar strokes account for only about 10 percent of all strokes and are not easy to diagnose. They’re often mistaken as migraines, gastritis, meningitis or even inner ear infections. Without a [...]

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Brain Health Center
Real Patients, Real Stories: Young Mother Seizure-Free After Epilepsy Surgery
Oct 31, 2019 By Emory Brain Health Center

Erin Gatlin-Martin Emory Epilepsy CenterThe seizures took control about once a month, rendering Erin Gatlin-Martin unable to drive. She couldn't work, go see friends or run to the store. She was on three medications, but epilepsy and its effects still left her feeling frustrated and isolated. "I was very dependent on my husband for everything," recalled Gatlin-Martin, a resident of the Savannah area. "He was serving as my husband and chauffeur. That was very frustrating for me. I couldn't run out to the grocery store if my child was feeling hungry and we'd run out of crackers. I couldn't do the things I needed to do to get through daily life." Her physicians in Savannah had prescribed anti-seizure medications, which worked for a while but over time became less and less effective. Doctors added more pills and higher dosages, but about once a month Gatlin-Martin still experienced seizures, which for her would involve [...]

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Brain Health Center
Bridging Access to PTSD Care in Primary Care
Aug 5, 2019 By Emory Healthcare

soldier hugs fatherEmory Healthcare Veterans Program (EHVP) is known for its innovative research when it comes to treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now the team behind the research is working to make treatment more accessible nationwide. In her role as Director of Mental Health Research and Program Evaluation at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Dr. Sheila Rauch, EHVP’s Clinical Director, works to make PTSD care more accessible within the VA by utilizing a version of prolonged exposure for embedded mental health workers in primary care. After demonstrating the effectiveness of the protocol to reduce PTSD symptoms in primary care, Dr. Rauch designed a program to train primary care mental health providers so they are better prepared to help patients struggling with PTSD. “PTSD is a disorder of avoidance; any hurdle to receiving care could be a reason someone seeking [...]

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Brain Health Center
Using Virtual Reality as Therapy for PTSD
Jun 17, 2019 By Emory Brain Health Center

virtual reality exposure therapy for ptsdJune is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month and Emory Healthcare Veterans Program would like to share how it uses Prolonged Exposure therapy and Virtual Reality Exposure therapy to heal invisible wounds. Our highly skilled team of professionals is led by world-renowned Emory clinical psychologist Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D., who has been working in the PTSD field since 1986 and pioneered Virtual Reality Exposure therapy as a treatment for PTSD in veterans and service members. In exposure therapy, we help people confront reminders of the traumatic event, but in a therapeutic manner so that their distress decreases.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

There are many approaches to treating PTSD, and after several decades of research, our program has determined Prolonged Exposure therapy to be the most successful in healing invisible wounds. This process treats PTSD by asking [...]

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Brain Health Center
Dementia Resources We Trust
Jun 14, 2019 By Emory Brain Health Center

Dementia patient and physicianAt Emory’s Integrated Memory Care Clinic (IMCC), we often field questions from family members and caregivers who've been doing their own research. While we encourage you to educate yourself, it can be difficult to separate facts from theories and to make sure your resources are reputable. We've set out to provide a list of reliable and trustworthy resources. This isn't intended to be an all-encompassing list, but these are almost always our first recommendations.

Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer's Association offers information about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, including Lewy Body and Vascular dementias. You'll find information on everything from legislation related to dementia and Alzheimer's disease to local resources, such as caregiver training and support groups, programs such as SafeReturn®, and stage-specific information. View Alzheimer's

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