HSC experts explain Alzheimer’s disease

March 26, 2021

Dr. Tyson GarfieldCaregivers, grappling with medical questions about Alzheimer’s disease, may be filled with fear and confusion.

Often, they turn to friends, social media or the internet for answers. Geriatric experts at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth want to bridge that information gap.

Dr. Tyson Garfield, Geriatrician and Assistant Professor, tackles those questions at HSC Health’s Geriatric Clinic and in his blog, “themedicinecheck.”

It helps to understand the terms.

“Dementia is a broad term that is defined as a loss of thinking skills and memory that decreases a person’s ability to do things they are normally able to do,” Dr. Garfield explained. “It is caused by damage to brain cells that makes it difficult for the brain cells to talk with each other which ultimately leads to the loss of a person’s ability to complete day-to-day tasks.”

Dr. Garfield said Alzheimer’s disease is often thought to be the same thing as dementia, but it is actually the most common type of dementia.

“In fact, Alzheimer’s disease causes up to 80% of cases!” he said.

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and fatal, Dr. Garfield said, adding: “There is no known cure at this time, but there are some treatments aimed at slowing it down.”

Early detection can help minimize the effects and improve quality of life as it progresses, he said.

First-of-its-kind research is underway at the HSC to develop new treatments to help detect it early and stop its progression before it’s too late.

But detecting Alzheimer’s disease early is challenging, because often, a person is unable to recognize the symptoms of dementia in themselves, Dr. Garfield said.

Families and caregivers should become familiar with some early warning signs, especially those noted by the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Memory loss
  • Trouble solving problems
  • Struggle to complete familiar tasks
  • Losing track of time and confusion about places
  • Vision or balance problems
  • Problems following a conversation
  • Losing items, trouble retracing one’s steps
  • A change in judgement or decision-making
  • Withdrawing from social circles, activities
  • Personality changes
Titus Regional Medical Center Droneshot
HSC partnership with rural Texas hospital boosts health literacy and cultural humility

By Alex Branch As Titus County grew into a COVID-19 hot spot last summer, Terry Scoggin realized the rural hospital he leads needed to make some big changes.   The east Texas county is 40 percent Hispanic — many drawn there by jobs in the manufacturing and food processing industry ...Read more

Jul 28, 2021

TCOM student Olivia Tomasco
TCOM student spends unforgettable week at the Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic

By Steven Bartolotta In March, Olivia Tomasco’s phone rang and she saw “Palm Springs” on the screen, and her heart skipped a beat. The fourth-year Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine knew the call meant she was invited to spend a life-changing week at the Hazelden Betty Ford Fo...Read more

Jul 27, 2021

Sabri Zooper Hsc Tcom Rc
TCOM Student re-appointed to national student organization’s board

By Steven Bartolotta Sabri Zooper’s work on a national level for the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) and osteopathic medicine is continuing for another year. The fourth-year TCOM student has been re-appointed to the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Board of Directors...Read more

Jul 26, 2021

Dr. John Licciardone
TCOM’s Dr. John Licciardone receives grant from the American Osteopathic Association

By Steven Bartolotta The American Osteopathic Association has awarded a $100,000 grant to Dr. John Licciardone, Executive Director of the Osteopathic Research Center and its PRECISION Pain Research Registry for the research project entitled “Osteopathic vs Allopathic Physician Opioid Prescri...Read more

Jul 26, 2021