October 21, 2019. By Ashley Agnew:

We are so very lucky to have such extraordinary higher education and research facilities domestically, with many right here in the areas in and around Boston.  With so much innovation coming out of our area, especially in healthcare, rising resources beyond our own borders are often overlooked.  Recently we have had the absolute pleasure of being introduced to a truly innovative institution, Ben Gurion University of the Negev.  Located in the desert of Israel, this hidden gem is half a world away geographically and yet closer than you can imagine educationally through their research and collaboration.

As you may recall from our previous discussions covering the progression of memory disorders, the diagnosis and treatment of brain trauma is a medical phenomenon we follow extensively as it impacts our friends, family, and clients in very personal ways. Last month, we hosted Professor Alon Friedman M.D. Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience and Dennis Chair in Epilepsy Research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and a Professor in the Department Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. With over 130 peer-reviewed publications, and more than 40 graduate students supervised in his labs, Dr. Friedman and his teams have significantly contributed to the understanding of the role of microvascular dysfunction in diseases of the brain. His multidisciplinary research groups in both Israel and Canada are developing novel methodologies for the early diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders.  Dr. Friedman shared the importance of collaborating not only with medical professionals across various nations, but also across various disciplines to reach successful conclusions:

An interesting socioeconomic happening, and one that was also discussed at our event with Dr. Paul Solomon, is that as Americans are living longer, they are also living longer with brain diseases, which is a strain on families both emotionally and financially.   As with Dr. Solomon, it is Dr. Friedman’s goal to educate medical professionals and patients on early diagnosis of these diseases rather than just treatment of symptoms because once these symptoms present themselves (depression, memory loss, tremors, etc) disease is often on a rapid path to progression, leaving families with few options.

There is much to be gained by learning more about the effects of brain disease. One key takeaway from the talk is that the brain trauma does not have to seem significant to be significant, and the brain as an organ can be harmed from light impact or even continuous mental stress. Where brain diseases leave so many in financial distress as caretakers, factoring a level of advanced care into financial plans is a prudent decision for most. Luckily, the work of researchers such as Dr. Friedman at Ben Gurion University are helping medical teams globally and locally to better understanding early diagnosis.

Thank you to Eve Rubinstein, Neal Myerberg Esq., and Dr. Alon Friedman for making this insightful event possible.