June 12, 2017
Elizabeth has a strong family history of Alzheimer Disease going back two generations. As she nears the age her father was when he showed symptoms, she is still healthy but worries about her future. Brandon is a young man whose mother has mental illness, and he’s concerned about feeling slightly depressed. James comes to see his doctor with the results of genetic tests suggesting a heightened risk of stroke, or Parkinson’s disease. Traditionally, neurologists and psychiatrists, who specialize in the brain, only care for patients with disease. But Elizabeth, Brandon, and James do not have diseases. What can we do for them?
At the Mass General Institute for Brain Health, experts from across the neurosciences are joining together to answer that question. For people whose risk for brain disease is elevated, or who simply want to do everything they can to preserve and enhance their brain health as they age, the Institute brings clinicians, researchers and patients together in a multidisciplinary effort to optimize brain health across the life span. Geared towards prevention, the Institute provides precision risk assessment and individualized care for people at high risk for brain disease, or for anyone interested in preserving and promoting good brain function as they age.
What does a visit to the Institute entail? After an initial telephone screen and evaluation by questionnaire, an individual coming to the Institute will undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a physician whose particular specialty (neurology, psychiatry or physical medicine and rehabilitation) is matched to the individual's concerns. Through this process, the individual and their team develop a comprehensive plan for maintaining and enhancing brain health, including goals and a set of next steps. These can include advice about how to limit the impact of concurrent medical conditions on the brain, sophisticated lifestyle coaching, including guidance on diet, exercise and stress reduction, meditation and mindfulness practice, and sleep.