Hoag Launches Orange County Vital Aging Program

Categories: Press Room

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hoag Launches Orange County Vital Aging Program

*Fee for in-person screenings: The screenings were offered during an introductory period free of charge through a grant from The UniHealth Foundation. The screenings are now generously subsidized by Hoag Neurosciences Institute and offered at a cost of $45.

Newport Beach, CA – Hoag Neurosciences Institute (HNI) today announced the launch of the Orange County Vital Aging Program (OCVAP), a community-wide, multi-disciplinary program dedicated to raising education awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD). OCVAP’s goal is to help men and women maintain a healthy brain for life by encouraging risk factor management, facilitating early intervention against cognitive impairment and generally improving standards of care for ADRD, as well supporting the local medical community in their efforts to promote healthy aging.

At the center of OCVAP is a newly-developed online self-assessment tool that allows users to take control of their own cognitive health by evaluating their memory, learning about key risk factors for ADRD, identifying the earliest stages of memory loss due to underlying medical conditions, and evaluating for contributing factors of cognitive decline caused by depression.

Memory Screen a short test to review the nature and severity of any perceived memory difficulties. This brief assessment accurately distinguishes concerning signs of decline from the more natural slowing of function we all experience with age. The intent is to reassure those who are likely to be aging normally while encouraging those with more serious symptoms to see their physician.

Depression Screen a short evaluation based on standard criteria for depression. This is an effective way for the public to understand if they may need to see a physician for a professional evaluation of their depression status.

Risk Factor Identification – an interactive interview to educate the user about all known risk factors for memory loss. This tool pulls relevant information from over 1,000 medical publications and presents a customized report about the user’s risks, as well as the current state of knowledge for managing those risks.

Through these user-friendly assessments, individuals have the opportunity to evaluate their health in the privacy of their own homes, and to benefit from online suggestions for proper prevention.

The OCVAP recommends a three-step process to assess your brain health:

  1. Register online at www.OCVitalAging.org and take the self assessment
  2. Take a free*, in-person assessment with a participating physician or at Hoag
  3. Repeat in one year to track your progress

“Recent studies have concluded that Alzheimer’s disease can be detected much earlier than previously thought and that early detection of the disease can help delay the progression of AD by up to five to six years,” states William R. Shankle, MD MS, Program Director, Memory and Cognitive Disorders, Hoag Neurosciences Institute. “Through the development of OCVAP, we hope to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of early detection. Specifically, with OCVAP’s free online assessment tools and the brief, yet accurate follow-up objective assessment, individuals can implement simple yearly check-ups for Alzheimer’s that can help in the early detection and possible prevention of the disease.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is estimated that today 5.3 million people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Many remain undiagnosed. From 2000 to 2006, deaths from the disease increased by a staggering 46.1 percent while other selected causes of death decreased, so Alzheimer’s now ranks as the 7th leading cause of death. What’s more, the disease has racked up 172 billion dollars in annual costs.

In addition to the online assessment tool, OCVAP is comprised of various key components to better serve the Orange County community, including:

  • An online information portal serving as the program’s hub.
  • A series of educational seminars offered for free to the public.
  • A physician education/support program to implement the highest standards of care in cognitive assessment and treatment.
  • Online resources for the public to identify, track and reduce ADRD risk factors that threaten their cognitive health.
  • Full-time professional resources to counsel the public about ADRD risk reduction, early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
  • A referral service for directing the public to medical and community resources as needed.

“This program empowers the public to take action on their own behalf and is a novel and creative approach to raising awareness about memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jeffrey Cummings, MD, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. “Awareness programs like OCVAP are essential in allowing the public to take preemptive measures against Alzheimer’s disease.”

For more information on the Orange County Vital Aging Program, please visitwww.OCVitalAging.org.

For a list of doctors participating in the program, visithttp://www.ocvitalaging.org/physician/ParticipantList.seam?liststatus=list&logic=and&cid=923

About the Orange County Vital Aging Program

The Orange County Vital Aging (OCVA) Program, launched by Hoag Neurosciences Institute in July 2010, is a community program promoting early detection and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) through education, proactive tracking and timely intervention against memory loss and cognitive decline. The OCVAP engages public and professional resources to increase public knowledge about ADRD, develop strategies to reduce risk for these conditions, and study and monitor healthy cognitive aging, as well as detect cognitive impairment due to ADRD early, when it is most treatable. The OCVAP is supported by a grant to Hoag Neurosciences Institute from the UniHealth Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organization whose mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and well being of individuals and communities within its service area. For more information, visit OCVitalAging.org.

About Hoag Neurosciences Institute (HNI)

Hoag Neurosciences Institute (neurosciences) coordinates clinical neuroscience specialists, dedicated facilities and the latest technology to provide individualized patient management under the following programs: Memory and Cognitive Disorders, Brain Tumors, Stroke, Epilepsy, Pain, Movement Disorders, and Neurobehavioral Disorders. HNI also houses the Multiple Sclerosis, Voice and Swallowing, and Sleep Centers and is becoming a regional referral center for all brain and spinal disorders.

About Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian (hoag.org) is a 498-bed, non-profit, acute care hospital located in Newport Beach, Calif. Fully accredited by the Joint Commission and designated as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Hoag offers a comprehensive mix of health care services, including Centers of Excellence in neurosciences (HNI), cancer, heart and vascular, orthopedics and women’s health. National Research Corporation has endorsed Hoag as Orange County’s most preferred hospital for the past 14 consecutive years. And for an unprecedented 14 years, residents of Orange County have chosen Hoag as the county’s best hospital in a local newspaper survey. In order to meet the growing needs of Irvine and South County residents, Hoag will be opening an Irvine campus. Hoag continues to offer additional services to the community through the seven Hoag Health Centers located throughout Orange County.