Filter Stories By

Empowering You to Prevent Dementia and Maintain a Healthy Brain

All of the leading research and clinical work currently underway by the renowned experts at Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute and its Memory & Cognitive Disorders Program can be boiled down
to one word – you.

By educating the community and training community physicians to recognize early risk factors and warning signs, the institute’s specialists are helping you to gain the upper hand on Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.

By focusing on the importance of brain health at every age, all of Hoag’s clinicians highlight ways you can establish habits now that could protect your brain as you age. For example, staying physically, socially and mentally fit in middle age has tremendous implications for cognitive health.

“The brain is the body’s most important organ; it holds our memories, our personality and how we interact with the world,” said Aaron Ritter, M.D., the Larkin Family Endowed Chair in Integrative Brain Health and director of the Memory & Cognitive Disorders Program in Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute. “As we age, a variety of different neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, become more common. The good news is that part of the risk for dementia is directly related to how we treat our brains.”

It’s never too early or too late to focus on brain health, or to be evaluated by a medical professional to help the process of improving brain function. “Early assessment can provide reassurance of healthy aging or detect a problem in its earliest stages and is key to forestalling debilitating disease.” said Dr. Ritter.

Dr. Ritter came to Hoag late last year from the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, where he led programs and research studies involving cognitive disorders and dementia.

As director of the Center, Dr. Ritter and his colleagues are empowering primary care physicians and non-neuro specialists with the necessary personnel expertise, processes and tools to integrate care for cognitive and mental health challenges.

“Our comprehensive team is focused on enabling patients and caregivers to identify signs of cognitive decline as early as possible, allowing treatment and optimizing maintenance of the patient’s long-term quality of life,” said Michael Brant-Zawadzki, M.D., F.A.C.R., the Ron & Sandi Simon Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair of the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute and Senior Physician Executive at Hoag.

Hoag’s approach to brain health takes into account Orange County’s rapidly aging population and growing rate of chronic health conditions.

“I think the environment at Hoag is unique because we have taken a comprehensive approach that focuses on the whole individual,” said Ritter. “Every day, our goal is to provide meaningful, proactive and patient-centered approaches to health.”