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January 14, 2011

School of Medicine Vice President and Dean Steven T. DeKosky, MD, featured in HBO documentary on Alzheimer’s disease

University of Virginia School of Medicine Vice President and Dean Steven T. DeKosky, MD, is featured in a new HBO documentary series on Alzheimer’s Disease, debuting at 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 10.

DeKosky, an international expert in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease research, is featured in the series for his work on the science and clinical care of the disease. His basic neuroscience laboratory studied the early pathological and chemical alterations in the brain associated with the development of Alzheimer’s, as well as the neurochemistry of brain trauma and how it relates to Alzheimer’s. He led clinical studies of the novel imaging agent, Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB), which was developed at the University of Pittsburgh. He recently completed an NIH-funded clinical trial of 3,000 patients, studying the efficacy of Ginko biloba in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts everyone in different ways. People with the disease suffer but so do their loved ones and caregivers, who lose a little bit of the person they remember on a daily basis. We have made great progress in understanding the causes and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s, and the HBO special is a message of information and hope that one day soon we will be able to halt or prevent this devastating disease,” DeKosky says.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the second most feared disease in the United States, behind cancer. More than 50 percent of all residents in the U.S. have been touched by Alzheimer’s, and the number of diagnosed cases is expected to exceed 11 million as the Baby Boomers move into retirement age.

The first of The Alzheimer’s Project series is “The Memory Loss Tapes” (debuting May 10) that provides an up-close and personal look at seven individuals living with Alzheimer’s across the full spectrum of the progression of the disease. “Momentum In Science” (May 11 and 12) is a two-part state-of-the-science film that takes viewers inside the laboratories and clinics of 25 leading scientists and physicians, revealing some of the most cutting-edge research advances. “‘Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?’ with Maria Shriver” (May 11) captures what it means to be a child or grandchild of one with Alzheimer’s, while “Caregivers” (May 12) highlights the sacrifices and successes of people who experience their loved one’s descent into dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Project is a presentation of HBO Documentary Films and the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health in association with the Alzheimer’s Association┬«, Fidelity┬« Charitable Gift Fund, and Geoffrey Beene Gives Back┬« Alzheimer’s Initiative.

DeKosky has served in leadership roles for several National Institutes of Health research-related activities as well as the boards of directors of both the Alzheimer’s Association USA and Alzheimer’s Disease International. He is a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and chairs their Strategic Planning Committee. In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of six of the leading neurology and Alzheimer’s clinical publications and is a journal reviewer for an additional 20 clinical journals.

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