What happens in Las Vegas brain health center guides some of what happens in Cleveland

What happens in Las Vegas doesn’t just stay in Las Vegas — it guides some of what happens in Cleveland and elsewhere, when it comes to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — The Cleveland Clinic is learning to do some things a little differently because of its collaboration with the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, as the center was renamed in February when the collaboration was struck, “is dedicated to the conquest of Alzheimer, Huntington, Parkinson, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and all forms of memory disorders.” That’s according to the center’s Web site, which was created prior to the Clinic’s involvement and while the center was being designed and built.

The highly specialized clinical center, which treated its first patients in July, aims at advancing research, early detection and treatment of neurological diseases. It was the dream of Las Vegas businessman and philanthropist Larry Ruvo, who began planning the center after his father, Lou Ruvo, died in 1994, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.

Early on, the iconic building plan by architect Frank Gehry distinguished the Las Vegas center. The Clinic’s involvement realized Larry Ruvo’s dream by contributing its medical and scientific expertise and reputation, he told the Las Vegas Sun in February

But Larry Ruvo wanted to create a cognitive disease center where compassionate care would go hand-in-hand with cutting-edge treatments and sophisticated research would be combined with education for caregivers. “Ultimately, the aim is to prevent the disabling symptoms of chronic brain diseases and to prolong healthy, vital aging in people at risk for dementia or memory impairments,” the center’s Web site says.

Those are passionate ideas to live by. And now, the Cleveland Clinic is living by some of them, too.

The center has become the hub for all things neurocognitive at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Michael Modic, chief of the Clinic’s Neurological Institute, told the Las Vegas Sun newspaper in early November.

That means the Las Vegas center leads the research and development of treatments for thinking, reasoning or remembering problems related to diseases – not the Clinic’s main campus. That may be news to some who work for the Cleveland-centric institution. In fact, what happens in Las Vegas doesn’t just stay in Las Vegas — it guides some of what happens in Cleveland and elsewhere.

“So what we do here, and the clinical trials that will occur, the research, the education, and the standards of clinical care, really are the leaders in terms of this particular aspect of the neurological institute,” Modic said during a Nov. 4 interview with the Sun. The Las Vegas program “will be duplicated in Cleveland” and in the Clinic’s other locations, Florida, Toronto and Abu Dhabi, Modic said.

Already, the Las Vegas center has taught the Clinic “a sensitivity to the caregiver, which is something that we didn’t possess before,” Modic said. “One of the really interesting aspects of this operation is the dedication … that the staff here have — not just for the patient, but to the caregivers.

“That’s something that we have learned and have brought back to what we do elsewhere. Some things as simple as that, and it’s obvious when you think about it, sort of have to be drilled into you by someone else. So we took that home with us,” Modic said.