April 20, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 16


Of Note


Dr. Román is consultant to U.S. FDA

portrait of Dr. Roman DR. ROMÁN

On March 14, Dr. Gustavo Román, professor of medicine/neurology and director of the UTHSC Memory Disorders Clinic at Villa Serena, was appointed as consultant to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in Rockville, Md. He will serve in the division of neuropharmacological drug products to a term running through Jan. 31, 2004.

"I was asked to serve as a neurology adviser principally on vascular dementia, which is my field of interest," he said.

Dr. Román attended a March 13-14 FDA meeting where the investigators discussed the issue of "minimal cognitive impairment – is it treatable?" Dr. Román engaged in discussion of possible diagnostic guidelines for the identification of very early Alzheimer's disease in patients. "Minimal cognitive impairment is different from benign forgetfulness in the elderly," he said.

A second dialogue centered on vascular dementia, which is a different condition than Alzheimer's. "This involves identifying and treating a patient's progressive loss of function after stroke," Dr. Román said. "We see other patients who have both Alzheimer's and cerebrovascular disease resulting in different types of dementia presentations.

"Risk factors appear to be the same for Alzheimer's and cerebrovascular disease," Dr. Román said. "High blood pressure plays a major role in both conditions and we are looking at treatment of hypertension as a preventative measure. The key to prevention is to treat high blood pressure early and aggressively. Our Mexican-American and African-American populations also have high incidence of diabetes, often in combination with hypertension, so it is conceivable that hidden dementia is endemic among the aged in these population groups. At the UTHSC Memory Disorders Clinic, we are interested in determining the extent of this problem."