With the encouragement of several Dr. Terry Dietrich’s patients and friends on the Mid-Shore, the Spy sought out an opportunity to interview one of the Shore’s only neurologists as he reached the fifty years milestone of his career in medicine. In fact, for most of that time, Dr. Dietrich was the only neurologist on the Delmarva, and the Spy looked forward to getting a perspective of those five decades and how both medical and our society has changed in its attitude and treatment of dementia.
And while Dr. Dietrich was kind enough to accept our invitation, the last thing he wanted to talk about was some retrospective of his life’s work. As someone who continues his practice, albeit part-time these days, he was much more focused on the present;the “here and now” of the research and science of neurology. Perhaps one reason for this detour was the recent and sobering news that experts predict that the number of adults with dementia will exceed 150 million by 2050.
That stunning statistic, along with findings that suggest this condition is a major threat to future health and social care systems, is just one troubling sign that dementia, and its associated diseases like Alzheimer’s and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is now impacting football players, will becomes worse, not better, in the United States.
Even as scientists double-down in the search for a cure, the history of finding therapeutic solutions to memory loss has been painfully slow, according to Dietrich.
He noted that somewhat dismal state of affairs when we last interviewed him three years ago when we profiled the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase in Easton. Nonetheless, at the time of that conversation, he had just returned from one of the largest neurology conferences and found himself for the first time in twenty years genuinely excited about promising new therapies that were to enter into clinical trials over the next five years.
But as Dr. Dietrich highlights in his Spy interview, no one could have possibly envisioned at the time the devastating impact that the COVID pandemic would have on research and those suffering from dementia. Beyond the fact that many of those planned studies have now lost two years as clinics shut their doors, patients were not able to see doctors, socially engage, or do physical exercise, all critical to keeping memory loss at bay.
For those who know Dr. Dietrich, it will come as no surprise that he ends our interview being positive nonetheless. It will also come as no shock that he has no plans to ever retire as he continues to serve his patients and their loved ones in managing this horrific disease.
This video is approximately fourteen minutes in length. For more information about Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase please go here.