It’s safe to say that Dr. Terry Detrich has been around the block, so to speak, when it comes to neurology conferences. Starting his practice on the Eastern Shore as the Delmarva’s first neurologist in 1976, Detrich has long made it a habit to attend these annual gatherings to keep up with current developments in his field.
But, at least with most of these professional summits, particularly in the area of dementia, it is more often the case that Detrich has left them feeling mostly underwhelmed with the progress being made to treat and prevent neurocognitive disorders.
That was one of the reasons, Dr. Detrich was not all that excited when he decided to travel to Los Angeles (not his favorite city) for the 2018 American Academy of Neurology in April.
So it was surprising for him to hear some remarkable reports from his peers and start feeling for the first time in many years that scientific research and clinical trial results had reached a modest but clearly evident tipping point in the fight against dementia and other memory loss diseases.
For purposes of analogy, Detrich relies on the arc of progress seen in aviation to measure tangle milestones. From the first controlled flight of the Wright Brothers in 1903 and Lindbergh’s first flight across the Atlantic, to our modern era of commercial airlines and space exploration, aviation advances were unprecedented in the their speed of discovery.
Dr. Detrich makes it clear that while the field has certainly well passed its Kitty Hawk stage, he still was looking for the equivalency of Charles Lindbergh’s arrival in Paris in 1927 in dementia prevention and management.
In Los Angeles last month, the doctor felt for the first time in decades that perhaps we are close to that moment.
With advances in knowledge of gene behavior and the positive results of new trials, Detrich cautiously indicts that real medical treatment for some forms of dementia, and even a vaccine, may be in use in two to five years.
The Spy had a short debriefing on the subject from Dr. Detrich last week at the Samuel & Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh-Chase.
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