University of South Carolina

USC Alzheimer’s disease faculty experts list

Alzheimer’s disease steadily robs patients of memory, judgment and dignity. It leaves them unable to care for themselves and destroys their brain and their identity.

Nationwide, an estimated 5.2 million people in the United States are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2030, this estimate is expected to reach 7.7 million; by 2050, the number of persons affected with Alzheimer’s disease could be between 11 million and 16 million.

For Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the University of South Carolina’s Office of Media Relations offers this list of faculty experts and story ideas. To arrange an interview, call the staffer listed with each entry.

Help for caregivers

Jan Merling of the Office for the Study of Aging in USC’s Arnold School of Public Health, has spent the past 10 years visiting more than 350 locations around South Carolina training more than 15,000 people on ways to care for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Dementia Dialogues was originally started as a way to train workers in skilled nursing facilities. Now the sessions are also offered to social workers, speech therapists, adult daycare centers, families, churches and others who work with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Merling is available to talk about advice and skills for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

For information or to arrange an interview, call Megan Sexton, 803-777-5400.

The role of genes in Alzheimer’s disease

As scientists do more research, they realize that genes play an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s are inherited and are caused by different gene mutations. USC’s Environmental Genomics Core Facility (EnGenCore) does high-tech, rapid DNA sequencing. Dr. Joe Jones, director of EnGenCore, can discuss mutations involved with genes and DNA and how those relate to what is known about the way Alzheimer’s is inherited.

For information or to arrange an interview, call Megan Sexton, 803-777-5400.

Caring for loved ones with dementia

Dr. Sue Levkoff of USC's College of Social Work is one of the nation’s leading experts on geriatrics and aging. She can discuss her own research on caregiving for loved ones with dementia, as well as recent evidence from the field on the role of physical activity in dementia prevention. She is the editor-in-chief of “Ageing International,” a journal that recently devoted a special issue to “Dementia Care and Chinese Culture.” Levkoff holds the endowed chair in Community and Social Support-Smart HOME at the SeniorSMART Center of Economic Excellence.

For information or to arrange an interview, call Megan Sexton, 803-777-5400.

The state of Alzheimer’s in South Carolina

The Alzheimer’s Disease Registry is a comprehensive statewide registry of South Carolina residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders. As the nation’s most comprehensive registry of its kind, the registry has maintained a record of diagnosed cases in the state since 1988. The registry provides information for planning for social and medical services. The registry is maintained by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Carol Cornman, director of the Office of the Study of Aging, can discuss the state of Alzheimer’s disease in South Carolina.

For information or to arrange an interview, call Megan Sexton, 803-777-5400.

Phytoestrogens show promise in fight against neurodegenerative disease

Phytoestrogens, compounds found naturally in plants that mimic the hormone estrogen, have demonstrated protective qualities for some cancers. These compounds target alpha estrogen receptors in cells in the body. Dr. Rose Booze, the university’s Bicentennial Chair Professor in Behavioral Neuroscience, is conducting phytoestrogen research that targets beta estrogen receptors found in the brain and that may help prevent or slow down neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Booze’s research focuses on a specific compound found in licorice root, a plant with a long history in traditional Chinese medicine. Her research is funded by a $1.8 million NIH grant.

For information or to arrange an interview, call Peggy Binette, 803-777-5400.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 11/11/10 @ 4:30 PM | Updated: 11/11/10 @ 4:33 PM | Permalink