Once a hospital program, now a nationally-renowned institute for Alzheimer's and dementia research
It can start harmless enough, a forgotten name, a misspoken word. Yet, when attributed to Alzheimer’s disease, these seemingly benign memory lapses often mark the beginning of a decidedly more destructive decline in thinking, memory and behavior. It is exactly this downward spiral that the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is striving to prevent.
“Almost 10 percent of everyone over 65, and almost half of everyone over 85 have Alzheimer’s disease,” said Eric Reiman, MD, one of the directors of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. “By the time today’s young adults become senior citizens, the numbers are going to triple, and it’s going to become financially overwhelming for all of us.”
The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute was established in 1996, quickly growing from a small brain imaging operation within Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center to its own institution of international repute in Alzheimer’s research, prevention and care.
The mission of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is to bring about transformational change by focusing on three key goals: to end Alzheimer’s disease before losing another generation; to establish a new standard of care in meeting the nonclinical needs of patients and families; and, to forge a model of collaboration with partners in biomedical research.
“There’s a buzz about Alzheimer’s research in Arizona that you won’t find anywhere in the country,” Reiman said.
This buzz vibrates throughout the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute’s pioneering collaboration with Banner Good Samaritan, Banner Health and a network of prestigious research partners. From utilizing brain imaging techniques that can preemptively detect and track problematic brainwaves to rapidly discovering and evaluating promising preventive therapies, the institute continuously explores innovative concepts and care models for patients and families. These efforts are driving Alzheimer’s experts closer to developing successful therapies for preventing this pervasive disease.
“There is a unique opportunity to find demonstratively effective treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and sooner than people think,” Reiman said.
What began as a novel idea by researchers at Banner Good Samaritan is now on its way to becoming “the largest memory clinic in the world,” Reiman said – a promising sign for the generation that the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is committed to saving.