Letter: Summitt, Foundation thanked for clinic

2/28/2015

It is with a thankful and hopeful heart that I write to express my deepest gratitude to Pat Summitt and the Pat Summitt Foundation for their support and commitment to establish the Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic. The new clinic will greatly expand the scope and capacity of the existing Alzheimer's clinic at the University of Tennessee Medical Center by providing the resources our community needs and opportunities to expand research efforts in finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease. It will increase much-needed patient and caregiver support services to our local families while extending education and awareness to East Tennessee and beyond.

There is currently no known cause, cure or meaningful drug treatment for Alzheimer's disease. According to the Alzheimer's experts, the state of Tennessee has the fifth highest Alzheimer's death rate in the nation with a 138 percent increase in deaths between 2000 and 2010. By the year 2025, more than 160,000 Tennesseans are expected to have Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is a critical issue that Tennesseans cannot ignore.

As a physician and a member of the Pat Summitt Foundation Advisory Board, I am joining hands with Summitt and inviting you, your readers, corporations and foundations to help win this fight by joining her team. Many of your readers have already joined her team, and to them I say, "Thank you." There are many ways for all of us to get involved. The starting point is at www.patsummitt.org.

In the fight against Alzheimer's, every second counts. The odds are against us; an arduous task is before us. The head coach emeritus of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers has many championships yet ahead, and together we can win them, one by one. Some say that finding a cure is impossible, but then again, so was winning 1,098 collegiate basketball games.

Dr. John Dougherty Jr., medical director, Cole Neuroscience Center, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville

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