Dear Alzheimer’s colleagues:
I’m here- in beautiful downtown Toronto- on the first full day of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
I wonder how many of you were like me… I knew AAIC existed, but it didn’t seem to have much to do with my day-to-day work at the Association. I mean, it’s international (not only in location but in scope), and it’s about science…something I respect very much but certainly can’t claim as an area of expertise. Well, I’m here to tell you, it is an experience that will enlarge your view of the Association’s standing in the global community, and pump up your Purple Pride! 5000 people in one place, with common goals and interests: to share knowledge and advance research focused on the cause, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer’s and related disorders…brought together by our Association!
First, Toronto has done an amazing job of making AAIC feel welcome. See the sign below? It was at the airport, and was just the first one I encountered. Can’t wait to show you in my next report what they are doing to honor us tonight…stay tuned!
YESTERDAY I attended preconference sessions called Professional Interest Areas (PIA). A PIA is an assembly of ISTAART* members with common subspecialties or interests. The first one I attended, Reserve, Resilience, and Protective Factors, had such an interesting format: 90 minutes worth of 3-minute presentations- speed dating for scientists! As probably the only non-scientist or clinician in the room, I know a lot of the technical terms and jargon went over my head, but I did understand that the studies reinforced our current knowledge about maintaining brain health…that education, physical activity, and reduction in stress appear to be good for our brains!
THIS MORNING the conference started with a light, music, and acrobatic extravaganza! Cirque du Soleil (Toronto style) meets purple conference! (See below) Alzheimer’s Association President and CEO Harry Johns welcomed us, and Dr. Maria Carillo, the Association’s Chief Science Officer, also greeted the assembled attendees and announced the awards. Several distinguished researchers won awards, but the one that touched me the most was the couple, Jerre and Mary Joy Stead, who were given the Jerome H. Stone Philanthropy Award for Alzheimer’s research. These two individuals are incredible supporters of Alzheimer’s research. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Stead shared some of their philosophy, and he asked the researchers in the room to remember that “Impossible is only an opinion.” I liked that!
More to come, colleagues…but right now I’ve got to go help get thousands of people to board shuttle buses to a reception!
With excitement and passion for our cause,
Sherry (Your Staff Liaison)
*International Society for the Advancement of Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment- a professional society for individuals interested in Alzheimer’s and dementia science
On her first day at AAIC Sherry becomes a “tweet” on the big screen.