U.Va. School of Medicine Launches Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Website for Physicians and Health Care Professionals

July 11, 2010 — The University of Virginia School of Medicine is launching Memory Commons (www.memorycommons.org), an interactive, first-of-its-kind educational website for physicians and health care professionals that focuses specifically on Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

More than 35 million people in the United States are over 65 years old; that number is expected to more than double through the year 2050. The risk of Alzheimer's disease increases dramatically with age, and with the existing growth of the aging population, Alzheimer's disease is already a major public health challenge.

The Memory Commons site is designed to provide the latest clinical and research advances in the diagnosis and management of people with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Through a variety of links, Memory Commons will add to the significant body of information the Alzheimer's Association already provides to patients, families and caregivers.

Memory Commons employs multiple educational formats to encourage learning and update health care providers on advances in dementia and Alzheimer's disease care, as well as improve quality of care and access to the latest treatment guidelines. Learning methods include tutorials, interactive case discussions, open case consults, blogs and an innovative interactive simulation of outpatient clinic encounters using a computer-gaming platform.

The site will be launched during the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Honolulu, which opened Saturday and runs through Thursday.

The U.Va. School of Medicine is collaborating with the U.Va. Institute on Aging, the U.Va. School of Nursing, the Alzheimer's Association, the University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Gerontology to develop this program.

Commenting on the collaboration, the Alzheimer's Association Central and Western Virginia Chapter addressed the importance of collaboration: "The association realizes the value and importance of collaboration to meet our goal of providing quality medical information on Alzheimer's disease, diagnosis and treatment to physicians and health professionals. Memory Commons is designed to meet this growing need through a convenient and accessible format. The website will also include valuable links to the Alzheimer's Association, providing current information of benefit to those with the disease, their caregivers and the general public."

Dr. David Geldmacher of U.Va.'s Department of Neurology, the course director for Memory Commons, said, "Getting reliable and up-to-date information on dementia-related topics has been difficult for many health care providers. It uses the latest in Internet and computer-simulation technologies to allow providers convenient real-time access to high-quality educational content in this rapidly developing field."