Another beautiful day in Toronto, CA…at least, between the hotel and the Convention Center it appears to be!
The “wear comfortable shoes” advice was certainly not a casual suggestion. The Metro Toronto Convention Center is two very large buildings, and the many sessions are spread out across both buildings and multiple floors. I have told several people that I’m pretty sure the walking that is required is part of the Healthy Brain initiative!
Speaking of exercise, one of the presentations at Monday’s Plenary Session provided results of multiple studies focusing on the impact of aerobic exercise on individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment. Preliminary results suggest that an intensive exercise program, especially when combined with training and ongoing coaching, may slow cognitive decline in those with an MCI diagnosis. Hmmm…combined with the evidence of the positive influence of exercise on brain health in general, my take-away is that I need to enroll in that Zumba class when I get home!
Lest you think your faithful reporter has been simply soaking up knowledge and writing these reports, let me assure you that this is a working gig. No complaints…I’ve loved every minute of it! I’ve had the opportunity to meet staff from the National office while greeting attendees at various special events, assisting at Registration, and helping at the Association booth in the Exhibit Hall. [I use the terms “assisting” and “helping” because that’s what my schedule says! The staff does the real work, and they are very pleasant and friendly.]
Meeting people has been a true highlight. Among them:
– a woman from the UK who shared with me that in dementia studies in the UK, individuals with a dementia routinely play key roles in the investigations, including many times as “co-researchers.”
– a group of VIP guests who are attending AAIC as part of the “Global Immersion” experience. This group includes major donors and past and present members of the National Board of Directors. These individuals are interested in every aspect of the conference and are highly dedicated to the mission of the Association.
There are many opportunities to learn at AAIC. There are Symposia, Plenary sessions, Focused Topic sessions, Featured Research Sessions, and Oral Sessions. And don’t forget the Poster Sessions, where researchers present their work beside their displayed posters in the Exhibit Hall. What a cornucopia of knowledge!
One of the unique opportunities I have had was attending a Press Conference (bright and early at 7:00 a.m.)! Each morning at AAIC members of the press community are invited to hear about a different topic related to Alzheimer’s research. This morning’s topic was the potential use of biomarkers in the nose and eyes as early predictors of cognitive impairment. Apparently, reduced ability to identify smells can be a sign of possible cognitive decline! Evidence was also presented of a strong association between thinning nerve layers in the retina of the eye and poor cognition. The implications of this research are that eventually there may be lower-cost and non-invasive tests available as alternatives to PET scans and lumbar punctures in diagnosing early dementia. You can see some of the press conference and read the press release at:
The first speaker of the Plenary Session was Dr. Tsuneya Ikezu, professor of pharmacology and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, speaking on “Exosomes and Microglia in Tau Propagation.” The title was easy to understand compared to the lecture! I did my best to follow, but it was highly technical and beyond my General Science level of understanding. This is indicative of the amazing scientific minds here at AAIC! It is inspiring to realize how many brilliant scientists are here, all with interest in Alzheimer’s disease. It makes me truly hopeful about the future of research in our field. So much is going on in universities and laboratories around the world…who knows which discovery will lead to the next big breakthrough? And it makes me so proud that the Alzheimer’s Association brings these great thinkers together once a year for this conference.
That’s all for today. I leave for home tomorrow. I will send you one more message before I go.
With Purple Passion and Hope,
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference®2016 (AAIC®) is the world’s largest forum for the dementia research community. Researchers, clinicians, care providers and students from over 70 countries gather at AAIC to network and discuss the latest dementia study results, theories and discoveries.
AAIC 2016 will be held in Toronto, Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and will feature more than 90 sessions, 1,700 posters and 475 presentations.
Find out more…