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O.C. Vital Brain Aging program Awarded Grant to Promote Healthy Brains in Battle Against Alzheimer's

Categories: Press Room

​​Newport Beach, Calif., July 2, 2013 – Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has been awarded a $450,000 grant to continue helping residents maintain a health brain for life, through its Orange County Vital Brain Aging Program, officials announced.

The Orange County Vital Brain Aging Program (Vital Brain Program), launched in 2010, recently received its second UniHealth Foundation grant for $450,000, which will partially fund the program for another three years through March 2016.

The grant was awarded to the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute, which offers the most comprehensive neurosciences program in Orange County through a network of specialists with expertise in such areas as addiction medicine, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and memory and cognitive disorders.

“This generous grant allow us to continue fulfilling our mission of focusing on healthy brain aging through risk-factor management, adoption of cognitively healthier lifestyles, and annual monitoring of memory and cognition,” said Dr. William Shankle, M.S., M.D., F.A.C.P., a board-certified neurologist and the Judy and Richard Voltmer Chair in Memory and Cognitive Disorders Program at Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute.

The UniHealth Foundation, based in Los Angeles, is a non-profit philanthropic organization whose mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and the well being of individuals and communities within its service area.

The Vital Brain Program promotes healthy brains through such forums as public seminars, continuing medical education training for physicians, clinical care guidelines, online resources, self-assessments, and in-person cognitive assessment services.

Since its inception in 2010, the Vital Brain Program has partnered with the Primary Care Institute at Hoag Hospital to conduct a pilot study to better understand how cognitive healthcare is delivered in primary care settings. It has engaged 13 physicians from four different medical practice types to review medical records in order to characterize cognitive healthcare delivery to their patients. Within this second UniHealth grant, the Vital Brain Program is expanding its partnership to the Hoag Medical Group, a newly formed group of primary care physicians, to understand the economics of managing patients with cognitive health issues. The outcome of this preliminary study as well as a three-year outcome of the Vital Brain Program will be presented by Dr. Shankle at next month’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston.

Among its many other services, the Vital Brain Program also offers in-person memory assessment at four locations around the county, including at the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, the Oasis Senior Center in Corona Del Mar, Hoag Hospital Irvine and Hoag Health Center Huntington Beach.

“With the rapid aging of the United States, cognitive impairment is imposing a major health and socioeconomic threat to our community,” Dr. Shankle said. “While Alzheimer’s disease is a significant cause of cognitive impairment, other more treatable conditions are also common causes, including depression, sleep disorders, cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, pulmonary disease, and renal disease.”

This grant allows the Vital Brain Program to continue educating the community and physicians about Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders, which can produce irreversible cognitive impairment, increase healthcare costs, and lower quality of life unless identified and treated early.

“We at the Vital Brain Program are dedicated to turning the tide on these insidious diseases, and look forward to continued interaction with the community about the benefits of maintaining brain health through all stages of life.”

For more information about the Orange County Vital Brain Aging Program, visit www.OCBrain.org, and for more information about Hoag Neurosciences Institute, visit www.hoag.org/neurosciences.

About Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute

Delivering a personalized, integrated approach using best-practice guidelines, the most advanced technology, and integration of medical specialists in the most appropriate facilities, Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute provides the highest quality care for patients with brain and spine disorders including stroke, aneurysms and vascular malformations, brain tumors, epilepsy, movement disorders, memory and cognitive disorders, pain, minimally invasive spine surgery, multiple sclerosis, addiction medicine and sleep disorders, as well as the mind-body interface of behavioral health. Several of Hoag’s neuroscience programs have received high acclaim, including Hoag’s stroke program, which ranks among the top five percent in the nation and was awarded the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement for Hoag’s high standard of stroke care. And as one of the first centers in the U.S. to offer the most advanced radiosurgical treatment system available, Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™, Hoag’s brain tumor program is the largest in Orange County and is also among the top volume programs in the western United States.