UT Health San Antonio has brilliant minds dedicated to protecting yours by:
- understanding why Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately affects Hispanic Americans,
- finding clues to create safe and effective treatments for brain cancers,
- developing therapy to battle headaches after brain injury and
- providing treatment to overcome substance use and mental illness.
Solving brain diseases
Data show that Hispanic Americans are 1.5 times more likely than White Americans to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Health leaders expect a tsunami of health care challenges related to dementia in our predominantly Hispanic American region.
The Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases, UT Health San Antonio’s top-of-class, nationally recognized institute, is leading human clinical trials of cutting-edge agents to treat memory-robbing diseases.
The Biggs Institute is the state’s only Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center designated by the National Institute on Aging. Underpinnings of Alzheimer’s and other diseases are explored through specimen analysis in the Biggs Institute brain bank and biorepository, and by leading genetic studies identifying novel drug targets, including in Hispanic Americans.
This spring, UT Health San Antonio announced it will build a $100 million Center for Brain Health to enhance its Biggs Institute and the Department of Neurology of its Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine. Clinical trials offered by the Biggs Institute and Department of Neurology are unique and not duplicated for hundreds of miles in any direction. Advanced imaging and expanded neuropsychology testing in the new building will greatly assist patients and families with diagnosis and care.
Other neurologists in the center will care for patients with Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), peripheral neuropathy and other disorders. Alongside these efforts, the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing provides excellent programs directed at caring for caregivers.
Extending survival in brain cancer
The Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio is one of only four National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in Texas and the only one in South Texas. NCI designation places us among the world’s most respected cancer centers.
Glioblastoma is among the cancers targeted for eradication by this elite NCI center. Studies are ongoing in collaboration with multiple UT Health San Antonio academic departments. Glioblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor and is one of the most complex, deadly and treatment-resistant cancers. Only 65% of patients live one year past diagnosis and only 12% live five years.
UT Health San Antonio laboratories are making novel findings about glioblastomas and are advancing potential drug therapies for this terrible disease.
Easing post-injury headaches
A study published by UT Health San Antonio psychiatry faculty in 2022 resulted in the first therapy to be developed specifically for post-traumatic headache in military populations. The therapy significantly reduced related disability in veterans. It also lessened co-occurring symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with effects comparable to a gold-standard PTSD treatment.
Moreover, the innovative treatment, known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Headache, was appealing to patients, showing low drop-out rates. It’s also easy for therapists to learn and deliver. This marks the first major treatment success for post-traumatic headache, which is arguably the most debilitating symptom of traumatic brain injury.
A new study affiliated with the STRONG STAR Consortium, led by UT Health San Antonio, will test the robustness of the headache therapy in a larger trial at multiple military and veterans care sites around the United States.
Transforming care for people with substance use and/or mental illness
Be Well Texas is one of the largest state-funded programs for people in Texas, providing comprehensive treatment and recovery support for those seeking help for substance use and/or mental health. Administered by UT Health San Antonio faculty and staff, Be Well Texas provides access to high-quality, low-barrier, evidence-based care by leveraging science, innovation and capacity building.
Virtual visits are available anywhere in Texas and in-person visits are available in San Antonio at 5109 Medical Drive. Insurance is not required for patients who qualify. Call 888-85-BeWell or visit BeWellTexas.org.
Advancing brain health will lead to a healthier society overall
From Alzheimer’s disease to cancer to mental health, UT Health San Antonio’s vision is to serve families and provide strong and lasting brain health. Join the journey with us and learn more at AdvancingBrainHealth.org.
Read more about UT Health San Antonio brain research and other discoveries aimed at curing diseases happening now at News.uthscsa.edu.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio), a primary driver for San Antonio’s $44.1 billion health care and biosciences sector, is the largest academic research institution in South Texas with an annual research portfolio of more than $360 million.
Driving substantial economic impact with its six professional schools, a diverse workforce of 7,900, an annual operating budget of $1.08 billion and clinical practices that provide 2.6 million patient visits each year, UT Health San Antonio plans to add more than 1,500 higher-wage jobs over the next five years to serve San Antonio, Bexar County and South Texas.
To learn about the many ways “We make lives better,” visit UTHealthSA.org.