The Center for Brain Health is for anyone who is interested in improving his or her brain health and preventing Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. It’s critical to understand your individual risks for brain disorders. Our risk assessments provide a profile of your risks. 

One of the greatest risks—that is genetic in nature—for Alzheimer’s disease is a family history of the disease. About 15% of the population carries a variation of a specific gene, called APOE, that can increase the risk for Alzheimer’s four- or 15-fold, depending on how many copies of the variation you inherited from your parents. Genetic risks aside, women are twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Other brain disorders and Alzheimer's risk factors include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Concussions
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Diet (red meats, sugary desserts, high-fat foods and refined grains)
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Menopause (early)
  • Obesity
  • Oophorectomy (removal of ovaries)
  • Sleep disorders (sleep deprivation, insomnia, dream disorders)
  • Smoking
  • Stroke

If it’s determined you are at risk for Alzheimer’s or a related brain disorder, our experts will counsel you regarding your risks and recommend multiple interventions to slow brain aging and to delay or prevent disease onset.

At NorthShore, we use diagnostics such as blood and other laboratory tests, advanced brain imaging studies and neuropsychological testing for signs of brain disease.  

Our specialists collaborate with the NorthShore Genomic Health Initiative, proactively screening for the genetic markers of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders. As many as 15 percent of those tested can be expected to carry common Alzheimer's genetic risk factors.

If your tests show no active signs of brain disease, our specialists will reassure you and empower you with strategies to stay brain healthy.