Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF May 20, 2016 | Archived Issues

P & T Approvals

Pharmacy Focus

Highlights of the April meeting of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee are summarized in the PDF link below.

P and T Approvals - April 2016 (PDF)


Meetings and Events


Grand Rounds

Click here to view upcoming grand rounds.


Upcoming CME Conferences

Click below to view a complete list of all scheduled Continuing Medical Education conferences.

CME Newsletter - May 2016 (PDF)  


Milestones

Myron Isaacs, MD, has died.

» Read more

Share Your News

Won any awards or had an article accepted for publication? Share your news about professional achievements and other items of interest.

Click here to share your news

Married Doctors Work to Prevent Alzheimer's

Sherzais Alzheimers 480px

The Sherzais share regular walks as part of an office workout routine, which fits into an overall strategy that may help slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

The best chance of stopping Alzheimer's disease is early detection, but fewer than half with the brain-robbing disorder know they have it.

The disease is a thief — stealing memories, personality, even the ability to recognize loved ones.

"It doesn't get any more painful than when a person you've known for 40 years turns to you one morning and asks, 'Who are you?'" said Dean Sherzai, MD, who is co-director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Program at Cedars-Sinai with his wife, neurologist Ayesha Sherzai, MD.

"Alzheimer's devastates your very faith in existence and faith in consistency of personality. Instead, you see a person you love diminish, fade, lose parts of themselves and parts of you," he added.

The Alzheimer's Prevention Program focuses on early detection, intervention and research for patients with mild cognitive impairment. It’s a condition where memory and thinking problems are measurable but don't yet significantly affect daily life. The disorder is linked with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The program offers patients real-life tools to manage their risk — and maybe even slow or stop its progression. The Sherzais' approach focuses on lifestyle change and intervention and goes by the acronym NEURO — nutrition, exercise, unwinding, restful sleep and optimizing social and mental activity.

"The only chance of changing the course of this disease is by knowing more about it, being proactive and not letting fear paralyze you. Basically, facing it head-on with a plan," said Dean Sherzai. "We believe that early identification for some can mean a cure, but for a great majority it may delay the disease significantly."

Advances in treating the disease and its cognitive impairments do not reach patients until it is too late to address the neurological problems, making it impossible to reverse the course of the disease, said Ayesha Sherzai, whose research focus is preventive neurology.

Once a patient is diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or another disorder that predisposes them to developing Alzheimer's, the prevention program takes a comprehensive approach.

Patients receive an initial assessment, which includes the use of retinal imaging that can detect the disease's hallmark plaques in the back of the eye. The comprehensive workup also includes blood work, neuropsychological evaluation and sampling of cerebral spinal fluid.

Taken together, these tests can help detect the disease and level of risk for patients as many as 20 years before they have their first symptom.

The program's partnership with the Cedars-Sinai Biobank and Translational Research Core means this assessment, followed up annually, begins to create a large pool of data researchers can use to track the progression of the disease and see what's working to change patient outcomes.

Critical to the Alzheimer's Prevention Program is the Lifestyle Intervention Study for Cognitive Impairment. This 18-month clinical study, headed by Ayesha Sherzai, focuses on keeping the mind and body healthy and explores how comprehensive lifestyle interventions can prevent further mental or physical decline in patients with early signs of Alzheimer disease.

This deep look at patient lifestyle and its effects on brain health requires the collaboration of myriad experts, including physical and occupational therapists, nutrionists, speech language pathologists, social workers, physicians, neuropsychologists, neuropsychiatrists, radiologists and geriatric specialists.

The program has teamed up with Dale Sherman, a clinical neuropsychologist in the Cedars-Sinai Department of Rehabilitation, to provide patients enrolled in the clinical trial with cognitive and social activities.

"Alzheimer's is the type of condition that changes the elements around our quality of life and how we live our day-to-day," Sherman said. "I believe there is something extremely exciting about being able to offer individuals who face this, as well as their family members and community, a greater sense of being able to preserve a quality of life they have now, while continuing to live the life they want in the future."

Healthier bodies mean healthier brains — a mantra the Sherzais live and teach to their patients. They have seen in their own families the devastating effects of the disease. They understand what the families they work with every day are experiencing.

"We are our brains, and identifying patients early enough with mild cognitive impairment will allow us to provide them with better tools to help manage, control or stop the disease in the long term," Dean Sherzai said.

The program is designed for patients with early stages of memory problems, but if employees or their families fall into that category, they are eligible to be enrolled.

For more information, employees can contact research coordinator Gwendolyn Weissberg at 310-423-5357 or gwendolyn.weissberg@cshs.org.