Construction underway of first-of-its-kind brain health center at UT Health Science Center-San Antonio

The $100 million patient care and research center will offer the latest advanced therapies for dementia and all neurological disorders.

SAN ANTONIO – Amid a growing storm of needed care for dementia and other neurological diseases, construction began this week on the $100 million Center for Brain Health, a new facility for patient care and clinical trials at the ‘Health Science Center of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The Center for Brain Health, expected to be completed in 2025, is among the $1 billion capital investments undertaken by UT Health San Antonio over the next four years, including at UT Health San Antonio Multispecialty and Research Hospital.

The Brain Health Center was built to advance research and provide innovative expert care to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias, movement disorders, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other nagging health problems.

The facility will also serve as a training venue for medical residents and postgraduate trainees.

“There is an urgency to create this new comprehensive care center, the first of its kind in our region,” said William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, president of UT Health Science Center San Antonio, also called UT Health San Antonio.

The main risk factor for developing dementia is a person’s age. According to census data, Bexar County is home to 250,000 senior citizens age 65 and older, and the number is expected to grow as San Antonio is an attractive retirement destination.

The city’s population is over 60% Hispanic. Data shows Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely than Caucasians to develop dementia. One in six Americans suffer from brain diseases including dementia, headaches, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, neuropathy and multiple sclerosis.

“The Center for Brain Health will be a critically important site for clinical research, offering the latest advanced therapies for dementia, neurodegenerative diseases and all neurological disorders,” said Sudha Seshadri, MD. “It will also be a major US center for recruiting Hispanics into clinical trials, expanding our nation’s understanding of how these diseases specifically affect them.”

Seshadri is a professor of neurology and founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio. The Biggs Institute will share space in the Center for Brain Health with the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine of the UT Health Department of Neurology.

“Neurologic patient care services, including those for dementia and disorders such as ALS, require comprehensive evaluations accompanied by imaging studies, neuropsychological tests, family services and other aspects,” said Carlayne Jackson, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurology.

He directs the neuromuscular disorders program at UT Health San Antonio, which offers a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) clinic that is one of only 38 MDA/ALS research centers in the country. The program is also an ALS Association-certified treatment center of excellence.

A team of psychologists, radiologists and other professionals from the Center for Brain Health will align closely with the nearby large outpatient clinic at UT Health San Antonio’s Medical Arts and Research Center (MARC).

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