Oct. 22 is dedicated to raising awareness for Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), the second-most common dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., one of the most prominent neuroscientists in the world, also is one of the leading international experts on LBD, a disease that causes patients to simultaneously experience losses in cognitive function, mobility, and behavior. Galvin developed the “Lewy Body Composite Risk Score” (LBCRS) to quickly and effectively diagnose LBD and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) in about three minutes. The LBCRS is a brief rating scale that can be completed by a clinician to assess clinical signs and symptoms highly associated with the pathology of this disease.
Galvin is spearheading the South Florida site for the HEADWAY-DLB, a phase 2b multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate an investigational medicine, RVT-101, for dementia with Lewy bodies. Currently, there are no medications available to specifically treat LBD, and patients are typically treated with medications for Alzheimer’s.
He also is the chair of the committee developing a Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) module for the National Institute of Aging.
Galvin is a professor of clinical biomedical science and associate dean for clinical research in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, and has a joint appointment as a professor in FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. He also is the medical director of FAU’s Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center. Galvin also serves as director of the Toby and Leon Cooperman Center for Memory Disorders and Alzheimer’s disease at the Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital.
Galvin was inspired to become a neurologist after he witnessed his grandfather’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease for more than 12 years. He knew that there was more that could have been done to help both his grandfather and grandmother. Today, he is working to improve clinical detection by combining biomarkers including high density EEG, functional and structural MRI, PET scans and CSF biomarkers to characterize and differentiate Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia from healthy aging and other neurodegenerative diseases. He has done cross-cultural validation of dementia screening methods in comparison with Gold Standard clinical evaluations and biomarker assays. His team also has developed sophisticated statistical models to explore transition points in clinical, cognitive, functional, behavioral and biological markers of disease in healthy aging, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
Galvin also developed the Quick Dementia Rating System (QDRS), which uses an evidence-based methodology, to validly and reliably differentiate individuals with and without dementia. When dementia is present, it accurately stages the condition to determine if it is very mild, mild, moderate or severe. QDRS has applications for use in clinical practice, to pre-qualify patients in clinical trials, prevention studies, community surveys and biomarker research. He also developed the AD8, a brief informant interview to translate research findings to community settings that is used worldwide to detect dementia in diverse populations.
Prior to joining FAU, Galvin held concurrent positions at New York University, including professor of neurology and psychiatry and professor of population health at the NYU Langone School of Medicine, professor of nutrition and public health at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, and professor of nursing at the NYU College of Nursing. Previously, he held faculty positions at Washington University in St. Louis and at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia.
With more than 200 scientific manuscripts and three textbooks published on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to his credit, Galvin also is a member of the Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegenerative Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. He has generated millions of dollars in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alzheimer’s Association, Michael J. Fox Foundation, local and state Departments of Health and private foundations.