weather icon Clear

VA Secretary Shulkin visits Las Vegas center for brain health

Updated March 9, 2018 - 10:28 pm

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin visited the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on Friday to learn more about how the center’s research one day might help veterans living with chronic brain diseases.

Shulkin toured the facility to see the work underway at the Cleveland Clinic to provide brain health care. He met with its executive director, Dr. Jeffery Cummings; its associate medical director, Dr. Charles Bernick; other doctors and leaders; and veterans who work and volunteer there.

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit academic medical center that combines clinical and hospital care at campuses across the country, and the Lou Ruvo Center specializes in the treatment of and research on brain diseases, including memory conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.

“I think the thing I am most proud of is the dignity that we have given the patients,” said Larry Ruvo, the center’s founder, whose father was a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. “(The patient) comes in, and there are no patient waiting rooms. They go straight into a suite … and the doctors come in right away.”

Cummings briefed Shulkin on the center’s resources, the status of its brain health studies and trials, and its philanthropy.

Shulkin expressed interest in several of the center’s trials for Alzheimer’s treatment drugs, research on early Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s detection, and an ongoing study on chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

“What about doing some research with the VA?” Shulkin asked.

“That’s a dialogue we’d love to have. I think that’s an open door,” Cummings said.

The Lou Ruvo Center is conducting its Professional Fighters Brain Health Study. It examines the brains of active and retired boxers and mixed martial arts fighters and studies the long-term implications of repeated head trauma. The study has had about 800 participants since its inception in 2011.

Bernick said the study has the potential to help veterans who have suffered head injuries.

“The hope of this, what will come out of it, can then be generalized to any population that’s exposed, whether it’s blast injuries or just direct head trauma,” he said. “Because military folks have exposure in a lot of different ways, so they can get direct injuries from direct hits to the brain, they can get blast injuries. … They do combat. So that’s the connection.”

Learning from the brains of the professional fighters might lead to an understanding of all types of head trauma and its long-term effects, so that conditions can be identified and intervention can take place, Bernick said.

Whether on “the battlefield, in the ring or on the football field … there may be some differences, but there’s probably more commonalities,” Bernick said.

Contact Madelyn Reese at mreese@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0497. Follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival at Lake Las Vegas

The 11th annual Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival is being held Saturday and Sunday at Lake Las Vegas. All of the money raised through team sponsorships and corporate donations stays in Southern Nevada and goes to Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican’s R.E.D. Rose Program.

Local woman continues fight against breast cancer

Ethiopia Hailemicael was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2010. After treatment, The cancer appeared to be in remission. However, in 2013, a PET scan revealed tumors in her lungs and liver. The breast cancer had returned and was consistent with stage 4 disease.

Events raise awareness, money for breast cancer

Two major fundraising events are taking place this month on opposite ends of the valley in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The 11th annual Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival is scheduled for Oct. 12 and 13 at Lake Las Vegas. The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer takes place Oct. 27, starting at Red Rock Resort.