This episode tells the story of Aunt Mary through the words of Physical Therapist Elizabeth Kerrigan. In it we take a look at how the profession of Physical Therapy can impact patients and families with Alzheimer’s Disease.

To tell this story Elizabeth uses her aunts journey as well as talking to health care experts on the disease.  We spoke with Dr. Pasquale Fonzetti of Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains New York, Julie Reis a Physical Therapy educator, clinician and researcher and Eric Vidoni a PT and PhD researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Our goal was to highlight that Physical Therapy is in an amazing position to positively affect those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Research has shown that exercise, with intensity, slows the progression of the disease as well as the many many added health benefits that exercise contributes to the body.

The show is free to download, but if you are so moved by the story and would like to make a financial contribution we ask that you do it through the Alzheimer’s Association here.

Bios:

Elizabeth Kerrigan is a physical therapist at Burke Rehabilitation hospital in White Plains New York.  She graduated from Marymount University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2016. She currently works in the outpatient physical therapy department at Burke where she sees patients with orthopedic and neurologic pathologies

Julie Ries is a physical therapist and professor of physical therapy at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. She has a special interest in physical therapy with older adults, particularly those with cognitive deficits such as Alzheimer’s disease, and her recent research has been in the area of outcome measures and balance interventions in this population.

Pasquale Fonzetti, M.D., Ph.D. is a board-certified neurologist and serves as the director of the Memory Evaluation and Treatment Service (METS) program at Burke. This program provides comprehensive outpatient assessment and treatment of memory disorders.

Through METS, Dr. Fonzetti works with patients to evaluate memory problems, providing diagnosis and treatment options for a wide-range of dementia disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. He also works closely with the patient and their family, including holding a family conference after the evaluation, to discuss next steps.

In addition to his work at Burke, Dr. Fonzetti is a clinical assistant professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. He has served as a research investigator for multiple clinical trials on dementia and stroke. Dr. Fonzetti is also the Chairman of Burke’s Institutional Review Board which oversees all clinical research within the hospital.

Academic Appointments
Assistant Professor of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College

Specialty Certifications
Board Certified in Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Licensure, State of New York

Eric Vidoni is a physical therapist licensed in Kansas and Missouri and a research assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. His research focus is using brain imaging and other techniques to quantify change in brain health and ability to be independent as we age or develop Alzheimer’s disease.

After taking a faculty position in 2010, Eric was named the Assistant Director of the KU ADC. He is responsible for the annual pilot awards, promoting KU ADC resources to investigators interested in Alzheimer’s disease and ensuring that projects are completed successfully with the help of the center.

Links:

Alzheimer’s Disease and links to current research from the APTA

Continuing education for health care providers from the Alzheimer’s Association 

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