Neurologist Anna Burke shares about her work with Alzheimer’s and how current developments in the field could help future patients.
Anna Burke, M.D.
Neurologist; Director, Alzheimer’s and Memory Division, Barrow Neurological Institute
How did you find yourself in the field of Alzheimer’s?
My battle against this disease is personal. As I entered into my medical school training, two of my grandparents were diagnosed with dementia. So, as I was studying to become a physician, I was a caregiver for my grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. This gave me a unique perspective on the challenges families face when dealing with this illness.
What improvements do you hope to see with Alzheimer’s in 2020?
Exciting advancements in Alzheimer’s research are on the horizon. We are beginning to move beyond just medications and are looking at more aggressive approaches to fight the disease. Barrow Neurological Institute is leading this effort as the first in the world to implant a pacemaker for the brain as part of the Advance II clinical trial of deep brain stimulation in Alzheimer’s disease.
Can you explain the benefit of clinical trials?
Clinical trials allow us to explore new, and potentially better, treatments to help slow or halt the disease process. Each trial, whether successful or not, increases our understanding of Alzheimer’s, helps us hone our treatment approach, and ultimately brings us one step closer to finding a cure for this devastating illness.