Clinical Evaluation and Research
The state of Florida currently funds thirteen Memory Disorder Clinics that provide comprehensive assessments, diagnostic services and treatment to individuals who exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer disease and related memory disorders. The Memory Disorder Clinics develop training programs and materials and conduct training for caregivers, respite service providers, and health care professionals in the care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related memory disorders. The clinics are also responsible for conducting applied research that is service-related and selected in conjunction with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA).
The Memory Disorder Clinics are established at medicals schools, teaching hospitals and public and private not-for-profit hospitals throughout the state. Talk with your family physician about referral. To find a Clinic serving your area or for information about the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI), which was legislatively created in 1985 to provide the Memory Disorder Clinics and several other programs, click HERE. Three Memory Disorder Clinics that may be convenient for persons living in Pasco and Pinellas County, Florida, are listed below:
- University of South Florida Memory Disorder Clinic
- Orlando Regional Memory Disorder Clinic
- Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Additionally, regional organizations in Florida’s Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties have established memory disorder clinics. There is variation in types of evaluations provided and whether or not they offer additional services such as caregiver training. Each person with Alzheimer’s-type symptoms should have a thorough examination done by a physician knowledgeable about the disease. Recommended tests include physical, neurological, psychological and psychiatric examinations and laboratory studies. Pasco and Pinellas residents who are not going to use one of the state-sponsored Memory Disorder Clinics may want to choose one of the alternatives listed below:
The Center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of memory disorders. Patients are seen by a variety of professionals including neurologists and psychiatrists. Complete social assessments, neuropsychological and psychiatric exams are a part of the center’s interdisciplinary approach to diagnosis. The Center accepts Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Patients may contact the center directly or be referred by a physician or other medical facility. Caregiver training and support are offered on a continuing basis.
Provided by the Senior Health Clinic that is sponsored by Community Aging and Retirement Services, Inc., this clinic provides diagnostic services and referral for those with memory loss. There are no age or insurance status requirements for this clinic. Call for more information.
This Program provides a comprehensive evaluation for elderly individuals experiencing intellectual and behavioral problems associated with aging. The patient is given a physical examination, appropriate lab and diagnostic testing and a neurological and psychological evaluation. Major parts may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and/or private insurance.
The goal of the Memory Clinic is to help individuals of all ages manage their memory problems more competently. Comprehensive screening to help differentiate normal age associated memory loss from Alzheimer?s Disease is provided. The essential members of the Memory Clinic team generally include the patient, their family and primary care doctor who work with neurology, behavioral health and speech/language pathology. Since successful caregiving depends on good communication, the Memory Clinic offers a unique training program for caregivers of Alzheimer?s patients. A support group for caregivers is available at no cost to the community. Call for information.
“The USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute is dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.” The Institute focuses on the care and treatment of patients with memory disorders and has developed “the Center for Memory C.A.R.E. (Clinical Assessment, Research & Education). The entire second floor of our Institute is a revolutionary Center that provides the most up-to-date diagnostic and caregiving services to patients and their families in one place”.
A main goal of the Roskamp Institute is to discover novel and effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The Institute is located in Sarasota, Florida and operates a memory clinic and clinical research offices in Tampa, Florida. Memory Clinics provide personal evaluation, diagnosis, and continuing care of an elder person’s mind and brain cognition and also provide assistance to their family and caretakers?.Patients seen in the clinic receive a comprehensive evaluation, including neurological, psychiatric, and neuropsychological evaluations, laboratory testing, and brain imaging. From this information, the most accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan is developed?. Treatment addresses individual needs of both patients and the people around them, and may include medical care, behavior management, counseling, and referral to community resources as well and access to novel therapies. We also may be able to help by providing access to clinical research trials.
Listed below are additional opportunities to participate in research:
State of Florida Brain Bank Program
Since 1987, Florida has conducted a Brain Bank program as part of the State Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI). The Florida Brain Bank conducts analysis on postmortem brains clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementia. Besides providing brain tissue for Alzheimer’s research that may lead to finding a cause and developing ways to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s, the Brain Bank provides families with a confirmation or correction of the clinical diagnosis. Services include accepting referrals from all respite and model day care service providers and conducting subsequent diagnostic workups for all referred consumers and for the general public.
The Florida Brain Bank is located in Miami Beach, at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, 305-674-2543. The Alzheimer Resource Center in Orlando coordinates Brain Bank activities for Pasco, Pinellas, and nine other counties in west central Florida. For an application or information, call them toll-free at 1-800-330-1910.
Clinical Drug Trials
Dozens of drugs are currently being investigated for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The question is how long it will take before they are available by prescription. In most cases, it takes about 10 years from the time a drug is first tested to the time it becomes available. New drugs must undergo several phases of development before they reach their final phase of study. Phase III can last from two to four years. Once phase III studies are completed, all of the information gathered about the drug’s effectiveness, side effects, and appropriate dosage is passed to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review. Alzheimer drugs are on a fast-track review process at the FDA and can take from one to two years to be approved (or denied).
Call the Alzheimer’s Association, Gulf Coast Chapter (formerly Tampa Bay Chapter), at 727-578-2558 in Pinellas County or the Alzheimer’s Family Organization in Pasco County at 727-848-8888 for specific information about what drugs are in development and about current studies. These Alzheimer’s organizations can discuss factors that should be considered before volunteering to participate in an experimental drug trial.