SC Dept. of Veterans Affairs unveils National Institute for Brain Health

Members and partners gathered Friday afternoon at the new location for the Ralph H. Johnson National Institute for Brain Health.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:53 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:04 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs is opening its doors to a new initiative working toward curbing the ongoing health crisis connected to Alzheimer’s and Dementia in veterans.

Members and partners gathered Friday afternoon at the new location for the Ralph H. Johnson National Institute for Brain Health, located on the fourth floor at 22 Westedge Street.

After a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, visitors got a first look at the center, equipped with rooms for observation, research, examinations and resources.

The center is in an integral part of the Lowcountry, but it will be a resource for diagnosed patients across the nation.

“It’s certainly a huge issue across the nation,” Ralph H. Johnson Director and Chief Executive Officer Scott Isaacs says. “This center is certainly going to do veteran research, but our goal Is to make sure it impacts the entire nation where numbers are much larger.”

A representative for the department says around 750,000 veterans are currently suffering from Dementia, while 500,000 are dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

They say it is the seventh leading cause of death in the nation.

The institute will work through the issue using the new center to conduct early-stage patient identification, standardizing improvement measures and ensuring comfortable access to clinical trials and resources.

Leading researchers and partners say the center will be a first-of-its-kind opportunity to work toward better treatment and research programs for either disease, and hopefully, a cure.

“A veteran walks into this wonderful center, maybe someone that has struggled with this for years, lots of people out there that have frankly lost some hope as to what can be done in the future,” Isaacs says. “Our goal is that when they walk in the door, they get their screening, they get blood work, they start to look at options for these veterans. They may see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The clinic is officially open starting Friday, November 17 to any veteran or associated community member who is interested.

For more information, you can contact the statewide Department of Veterans Affairs here.