NJISA experts available for interviews on Alzheimer's disease

An estimated five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's, a disease that affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language and is the most common form of dementia among older people.

Its causes have not yet been identified and there is no cure.

Risk for Alzheimer's increases with age. Onset usually occurs after age 60. An estimated five percent of men and women ages 65 to 74 have the disease, and nearly half of those age 85 and older may have it.

The New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging (NJISA) at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) has physicians and health professionals of multiple disciplines with expertise in evaluation and management of Alzheimer's disease.

NJISA offers a Memory Assessment Program, a consultation service that offers an interdisciplinary team approach to evaluation and management of memory problems, including Alzheimer's, and a community-based program called Brain and Memory, which focuses on maintaining brain health.

NJISA experts available for interviews on Alzheimer's disease, treatment and research include:

  • Dr. Anita Chopra is board-certified in internal medicine and has more than 20 years of experience in caring for the elderly. She oversees the NJISA's clinical and academic operations and is the program director on several national initiatives and for the New Jersey Geriatric Education Center.
  • Dr. Stephen Scheinthal is chief of geriatric behavioral health for the NJISA. He is board certified in psychiatry and oversees the Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at the NJISA. He has been a principal investigator or co-investigator on a number of clinical research projects, including three specifically related to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, and he routinely lectures on behavioral health issues in the elderly.
  • Dr. Mark Friedman is a geriatric neurologist and oversees the NJISA's Memory Assessment Program (MAP). He is board certified in internal medicine, neurology, and balance medicine. He has published widely on neurological topics, including gender-related neurological issues seen during the aging process. Dr. Friedman lectures on topics related to geriatric neurology, including memory assessment issues.
  • Robert Ruchinskas, Psy.D., is a geriatric neuropsychologist in the NJISA's Memory Assessment Program (MAP) and is board certified in rehabilitation psychology. He has published extensively in the field of geriatric neuropsychology, and his research interests include defining and measuring age-appropriate memory abilities, the interaction between cognition, personality and chronic disease states, and the ethics of assessing decision-making capacity. His MAP work focuses on neuropsychological assessment of individuals experiencing problems with Alzheimer's disease, dementia or other forms of memory loss.
  • Nancy Alterman, MSW, LCSW, serves as the NJISA's geriatrics social worker. A member of the MAP interdisciplinary team, Alterman is actively involved in assessment of the needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease or dementia and assisting their families in accessing an array of community-based resources and supportive services. She conducts a monthly support group for caregivers of individuals with dementia.
  • Robert Nagele, Ph.D., leads several research initiatives focusing on the cellular origins of Alzheimer's disease. He has received numerous grants from federal, state, foundation and private industry to support research focused on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, stem cell research, and autoantibodies.

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with nearly 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and a school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.

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