WALLINGFORD — Hartford Healthcare is hosting a "Your Brain Health: Sleep, Memory and Movement Disorders" panel discussion with experts from the Ayer Neuroscience Institute as part of an educational series in collaboration with Masonicare.
Organizers describe the panel as a "journey inside the inner workings of the human brain" and will cover topics relating to brain health, movement disorders, memory care and the importance of sleep for older adults. The panel is on June 1 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Ashlar Village.
President and CEO of Masonicare Jon-Paul Venoit said the evening will be filled with informative discussions, questions and answers regarding the latest advancements in sleep, memory and movement disorders.
"This is the second panel discussion with leading physicians from Hartford Healthcare...[that] puts audience members up front and in person with leading experts in their respective fields," he said. Education and Resources
Dementia care, prevention and treatment is the overarching theme of the "Your Brain Health" panel, said Dr. Barry Gordon, medical director for Ayer Neuroscience Institute at Midstate Medical Center and the Hospital of Central Connecticut.
Gordon’s portion of the discussion, titled "Brain Games," will primarily focus on dementia risk factors and available treatments because many individuals don't know the intricacies of the cognitive disease and may not realize how behavior can increase risk. For example, he said social isolation and untreated hearing loss can contribute to developing dementia.
No cure currently exists for dementia, but Gordon said new dementia research and treatments could slow the deterioration.
"We have some tried and true therapies that are very effective at slowing down the decline in dementia," Gordon said. "We don't have the treatment that fixes the problem yet, but we do have good drugs to slow down the decline and that could be the difference between someone who can live independently or not."
Gordon said there haven't been many [medication] advancements over the last 20 years, but research has changed treatment styles. For example, he explained that many neurologists wouldn't start dementia treatment until their patients showed clear signs of deterioration. However, Gordon said treatment is more effective the earlier it is prescribed.
He plans to discuss two new dementia medications, Aricept and Donepezil, which were recently approved for clinical trials. Although the new treatments are a step forward, Gordon said many unanswered questions remain.
For instance, the new treatment can only be accessed if the patient decides to participate in the clinical trial. Gordon said it is often costly, has strict requirements and has limited space.
"[Dementia] is a very frightening diagnosis. Families and patients don't like it, but once they understand that the medicines work best the earlier we start them," Gordon said. "If we wait until mom or dad declines down to a certain level and start treating, then we're not going to get that function back."
The other panelists will cover the importance of healthy sleep patterns, signs of movement disorders and memory issues. Gordon added that these experts can help audience members better understand the different forms of dementia and its impact.
For example, Gordon said the expert on memory care could help audience members determine if their symptoms, such as forgetfulness and constant pain, are signs of dementia or symptoms relating to another issue.
Gordon added that the panel presents an opportunity to highlight the neuroscience services offered throughout central Connecticut.
"We're very proud of the partnership between Masonicare and Hartford HealthCare's Central Region. We understand how critically important it is to provide our communities with education and information that ultimately allows them to live healthy, productive lives," said Gary Havican, president of MidState Medical Center and The Hospital of Central Connecticut.
To register for the panel, visit the Masonicare website.