Tag Archives: #AAIC16

Final Purple Passion Report from #AAIC16

28 Jul
WEDNESDAY

Well, all good things must come to an end. I’m pointing my purple sneakers south and heading back to Virginia.

A few final musings before I go:

The Alzheimer’s Association International Research Grant Program makes a difference! I have always quoted to people “The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research”…but now I have seen some of the recipients, and they are doing great things! Not all of the scientists here have received Alzheimer’s Association funding, but I heard several of them gratefully acknowledge the assistance.

Technology appears to be playing an increasing role in Alzheimer’s…not just the detection and diagnosis, as you might imagine, but even in care and support. I told you about the session I attended the other day (Monday? Who knows any more??) about technology. In addition to the use of computers to increase the engagement of individuals with Alzheimer’s, I heard how telemedicine is being used to make routine follow-up testing and caregiver check-ins more convenient for people in rural/remote areas. And in the Exhibit Hall there are several companies touting various technological offerings…my favorite being the soft, furry baby seal-like “creatures” that respond to being petted and make soft sounds and move their heads; they are used as comfort objects for people in later stages. This morning as I was getting dressed I saw on the local news one of the robots that was developed to detect changes in voice and language patterns to possibly identify signs of early cognitive changes. I know that not all technology being developed will make a difference for people with Alzheimer’s and their families, but it is another piece of the large puzzle.

– I met a gentleman here who has been diagnosed with dementia. He is here with his wife. She was talking to some of us at the Alzheimer’s Association booth, and she told us that he says joining TrialMatch® was the best thing that has happened since he was diagnosed, because he is now enrolled in a trial. He was depressed after his diagnosis, but now he feels like he is doing something to make a difference. That’s powerful.

I joined TrialMatch®a few months ago, and I have so far participated in one trial which uses testing results from healthy volunteers and those with a diagnosis of MCI, hoping to identify markers that can be used for earlier diagnosis. I encourage all Alzheimer’s Association staff to at least investigate the website and read about trials and what is involved. You are under no obligation to participate in any trials, but it is an easy way to find out whether there are trials for which you qualify. Go to http://www.alz.org/research/clinical_trials/find_clinical_trials_trialmatch.asp

End of commercial!

It has been my genuine delight to be your “eyes and ears” at the 2016 AAIC. I hope if you have not attended AAIC before you will consider it. London in 2017! The experience has given me a much better appreciation for the science aspect of the Association.

Most of all, the experience has given me renewed hope and optimism for scientific discoveries that are going to continue to improve the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and, ultimately, find the cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias. Believe me when I say there are many brilliant people at work across the globe working toward these goals, and the Alzheimer’s Association is playing a leading role in making it happen!

Thanks to the Alzheimer’s Association for the privilege of being the Staff Liaison for this year’s conference. Thanks to all of the National staff who made me feel like “one of the team.”

Just a few more photos from my album…

With Purple Passion and Great Hope,
Sherry
#AAIC16

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…

Purple Passion Report #3 from AAIC

27 Jul
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TUESDAY
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,
Sherry

#AAIC16


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…