Disease Areas

Disease Areas

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (“AD”) is the most common form of dementia, and afflicts 5.3 million Americans, 11% of Americans age 65 and older, and 32% of those age 85 and older. By 2050, the number affected is projected to reach 13.8 million. In 2020, the total national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to reach $305 billion. There is no disease-modifying therapeutic for AD, and no absolute means of prevention. Age, genetics, and family history are the primary risk factors; however, lifestyle changes such as exercise, smoking cessation, and the management of hypertension and diabetes all help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Current diagnostics include cognitive testing, in vivo amyloid PET imaging of the brain, and investigational in vitro diagnostic measurements in CSF.

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Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (“AD”) is the most common form of dementia, and afflicts 5.3 million Americans, 11% of Americans age 65 and older, and 32% of those age 85 and older. By 2050, the number affected is projected to reach 13.8 million. In 2020, the total national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to reach $305 billion. There is no disease-modifying therapeutic for AD, and no absolute means of prevention. Age, genetics, and family history are the primary risk factors; however, lifestyle changes such as exercise, smoking cessation, and the management of hypertension and diabetes all help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Current diagnostics include cognitive testing, in vivo amyloid PET imaging of the brain, and investigational in vitro diagnostic measurements in CSF.

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by damage to myelin, nerve fibers, and neurons in the brain and spinal cord, causing a variety of symptoms impacting the mind, body, and senses, including numbness, tingling or burning in the limbs, blurred vision, changes is speech and hearing impairment, to name a few.  It is the most widespread disabling neurological condition of young adults around the world. You can develop MS at any age, but most people receive diagnoses between the ages of 20 and 50. A study published in 2019 in the journal Neurology estimated that nearly 1 million people in the US were living with MS in 2017, nearly double previous estimates. The incidence is highest in the northern states (north of the 37th parallel), and people of norther European descent have the highest risk of developing MS regardless of where they live. MS is two to three times more common in women than in men.  Diagnosis includes a review of a patient’s medical history, MRI, spinal fluid tests, blood tests, and EEG.  Thankfully, there are nearly a dozen approved disease-modifying medications for MS approved by the FDA, and the medical challenge has shifted from simply diagnosing the disease to managing disease variants across patients and the time course of the disease.

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by damage to myelin, nerve fibers, and neurons in the brain and spinal cord, causing a variety of symptoms impacting the mind, body, and senses, including numbness, tingling or burning in the limbs, blurred vision, changes is speech and hearing impairment, to name a few.  It is the most widespread disabling neurological condition of young adults around the world. You can develop MS at any age, but most people receive diagnoses between the ages of 20 and 50. A study published in 2019 in the journal Neurology estimated that nearly 1 million people in the US were living with MS in 2017, nearly double previous estimates. The incidence is highest in the norther states (north of the 37th parallel), and people of norther European descent have the highest risk of developing MS regardless of where they live. MS is two to three times more common in women than in men.  Diagnosis includes a review of a patient’s medical history, MRI, spinal fluid tests, blood tests, and EEG.  Thankfully, there are nearly a dozen approved disease-modifying medications for MS approved by the FDA, and the medical challenge has shifted from simply diagnosing the disease to managing disease variants across patients and the time course of the disease.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes affects over 12% of the U.S. population and only 62% receive recommended preventative care.  (CDC 2018)  An estimated 5.2% of the population has undiagnosed diabetes, or stated differently, 47% of total diabetes cases of adults under 45 years of age are undiagnosed, as are 34% of cases of adults 45 to 64 years old (Menke et al. 2015).  The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy at time of diabetes diagnosis is about 20% (Kostev and Rathmann 2013) , indicating that there are as many as 2.5 million individuals in the U.S. with undiagnosed diabetes-related eye disease.  The best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is to control one’s diabetes.  Regular eye exams can help catch early diabetes, especially for patients that do not schedule regular physical exams with a primary care physician.  More than moderate diabetic retinopathy may require interventional treatment, either laser-based, through intravitreal injection, or through surgical intervention.  

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration is less common than diabetic retinopathy but potentially more damaging to the patient since there is no acute lifestyle change that can significantly forestall progression of the disease, and since early detection of conversion to the late, wet form of AMD is critical to initiating interventional treatment.  3% of the population aged 40-59 have some form of AMD, increasing to 14% for 60 and older. (Klein et al. 2011)  Although one can assume that persons with late stage or vision-threatening AMD would be properly diagnosed, there is evidence that 25% of patients  60 years old or older have a false negative diagnosis (no AMD diagnosed despite having some form of AMD) when seen by a primary eye care ophthalmologist or optometrist.  (Neely et al. 2017)  Early to mid-stage age related macular degeneration (non-exudative or “dry” AMD) is characterized by drusen deposits, retinal pigmentation change and retinal atrophy.  The wet form of AMD can be treated with anti-angiogenesis drugs injected into the eye or laser-based therapy.

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