A Brain Health unit in the Innovation Centre will focus specifically on Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Digital Brain Health Technology. It will be the first of its kind in Europe and will build on the already established Brain Health Clinic TUH which is currently the largest regional clinical diagnostic memory service in Ireland.
With the prevalence of dementia expected to rise by 134% by 2045, the brain health unit will have a strong focus on early brain health interventions. Early diagnosis is key to the treatment of dementia and with advances in modifying therapies and brain health interventions key to slow progression of the illness and maintain a person’s quality of life, the brain health unit is ideally placed to make it a key focus. TUH is a leader in this field and is on the cusp of a new year of better interventions to prevent, diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. There is cause for great optimism that TUH's targeted therapies will allow to treat, slow or prevent a disease that can be so devastating for people.
With the support of our partners in UPMC, we will have a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanner. The inclusion of a PET scanner in this building will be substantial, with positive impacts on both patient care and research, as well as the development of new medical technologies. The clinical impact of having a PET scanner is that we can provide important diagnostic information for various medical conditions (in the case here dementia but it will also assist others in the centre) , allowing for early detection and more accurate targeted treatment. Our PET scanner will also be used for a variety of research studies, including drug development and disease management, which can lead to the discovery of new treatments and therapies.
However, it may be a surprise to many that, according to the WHO up to 40% of dementia cases are potentially preventable if we work to support and maintain our brain health.
We can all take action to protect our brain health. The need to shift healthcare provision away from acute hospital care to community and indeed prevention especially for an ageing population, has never been more essential. The unit will look at ageing , what successful ageing looks like and using research and digital technologies.