Kentucky Health News
Telemedicine is a strategy that can be used to help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease, especially in rural areas, where the disease comes sooner in life, Dr. Gregory Jicha, clinical-core director of the University of Kentucky‘s Disease Center, said today at the fourth annual Appalachian Translational Research Network Summit in Lexington.
|Dr. Gregory Jicha
While mortality rates for prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and HIV are going down, the rates for Alzheimer’s are going up, and by 2020, it is estimated that 5.6 million Americans could be affected by it. Rural areas have higher incidents of the condition, and the onset of dementia averages four years younger in rural areas than in urban areas, Jicha said.
Todd Gress, a professor at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., presented a study about a pilot test of a text-message reminder system to advance diabetes awareness, compliance, and education—particularly in remote areas where cell phone service might be unreliable.
The advancing telemedicine strategy and these other research agendas should serve as a reminder that gifted researchers are searching for ways to improve rural health.
Such conferences “represent the best of what’s happening out there in the world of universities and the world of communities,” UK Provost Christine Rirodan told one session. She said the Appalachian gathering “represents the passion of people who are dedicated to solving these problems” in the region, “which require a great deal of collaboration to solve. . . . They’re not small problems.”