Local News


First-of-its-kind Alzheimer's study happening in Las Vegas

Posted at 10:02 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 01:30:09-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas is in a class by itself for so many reasons and is now at the forefront of Alzheimer's research.

Dave Courvoisier got wind of a groundbreaking new study that's unlike any in the world, happening right now at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. He met one woman who's grateful to be a part of it.

"So my mother had Alzheimer's and I was with her," said Jodi Manzella.

Alzheimer's disease is a sworn enemy for Manzella. It took her mother — and then struck again. Her brother also had the disease before he passed away from complications from it.

Now she's taking part in a first-of-its-kind study focusing strictly on Alzheimer's in women.

"We opened the Women's Alzheimer's Movement Prevention Center because women represent two-thirds of the people currently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease," said neuropsychiatrist Dr. Jessica Caldwell with the Cleveland Clinic.

She's excited to be at the center of it, hoping to lead to better understanding and, ultimately, better prevention.


"We know that up to 40 percent of current Alzheimer's cases might've been prevented if we had known then what we know now about lifestyle," Caldwell said.

It's a confounding puzzle, figuring out why it strikes mostly women.

"I didn't know how disproportionate this disease affected with gender, so it really was surprising when I had first seen information about this program and targeting women with Alzheimer's," Manzella said.

But a study of this size takes money and influence, and that's where Cleveland Clinic's partnership with the Women's Alzheimer's Movement headed by Maria Shriver comes in.

"The Women's Alzheimer's Movement Prevention Center here at the Cleveland Clinic is a landmark center. It's the first of its kind in the world to focus on women," Shriver said.

Shriver's appearance at the Lou Ruvo Center in Las Vegas energized the program with funds, advocacy, and momentum.


"What's fantastic about this prevention center is it says, we want to get you when you're young, when you're healthy and when you can make a difference. That's got to save not only your family and yourself financially, emotionally, spiritually, cognitively — it will save our country," Shriver said.

"Maria Shriver's Women's Alzheimer's Movement, they have a really amazing track record of raising funds for Alzheimer's disease, specifically. So to be able to have that resource in our corner is really amazing," Caldwell said.

And amazing because women like Jodi Manzella now have more hope to rise above their family history.

Right now the study is full, but there is a waiting list to get in on this first-of-its-kind study right here in Las Vegas. You can also help with program funding.