Neurodegenerative Diseases Center

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It is estimated that approximately one in four Americans will suffer from a neurodegenerative disease, and virtually all Americans will have a family member with one of these conditions. At the Henry Ford Neuroscience Institute Neurodegenerative Diseases Center, we are committed to changing that statistic for the better, applying a collaborative and coordinated approach across specialties to help find treatments and cures for neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases occur when nervous system cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord begin to deteriorate. Doctors at the Neurodegenerative Diseases Center specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, including:

  • ALS (or Lou Gehrig's Disease): A disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement
  • Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, and Cognitive Disorders: Conditions that cause a loss of brain function
  • Multiple Sclerosis: A chronic disease that affects the central nervous system
  • Myasthenia Gravis: An autoimmune disorder that causes weakness of voluntary muscles
  • Neuromuscular Diseases: Disorders that involve muscles and the nerves that control them, such as muscular dystrophies

Neurodegenerative program highlights at Henry Ford Hospital

Henry Ford neurology programs for neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases are led by renowned neurologists long known for expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of ALS, MS, myasthenia gravis, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.

  • The Harry J. Hoenselaar ALS Clinic: Henry Ford’s ALS clinic is one of only 24 clinics in the United States recognized by the national ALS Association for providing an exemplary level of diagnostic services and care to patients with the disease. As one of the busiest ALS clinics in Michigan, ALS patients treated at Henry Ford have the advantage of expert diagnosis, early therapeutic intervention, and the choice to participate in the newest clinical trials.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Myasthenia Gravis (MG) Programs: Henry Ford’s MS and MG programs have been designated as sites for comprehensive care and advanced research by the national MS and MG societies, respectively. More than 1,000 MS patients and close to 400 MG patients are followed each year at the Henry Ford Neurodegenerative Diseases Center.
  • Neuromuscular Disease Program: Henry Ford’s electromyography (EMG) laboratory is equipped with highly advanced instrumentation, performing more than 5,000 EMG studies on neuromuscular disease patients each year. The program includes one of only 200 physicians in North America who has the expertise both to perform the muscle biopsy (the removal of a small piece of muscle tissue for examination) and to make a diagnosis based on the biopsied tissue.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia and Cognitive Disorders Program: Our behavioral neurologists specialize in coordinated care for patients suffering from memory loss and other cognitive impairment. Accurate diagnosis is critical and complex, as many cognitive disorders have the same or similar symptoms. Our advanced diagnostic studies include:
  • The Consortium to Establish Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD)
  • Dementia-specific speech and occupational therapy tests of brain function
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Genetic tests such as apolipoprotein E alleles and presenilin gene mutations

Clinical trials are ongoing in each of these programs.

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