Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in Boston July 13-19, 2013

What a fun and interesting conference!   

Come to AAIC in Copenhagen July 12-17, 2014 ! 

Purple Tower at AAIC: The Brains Behind Saving Yours

I enjoyed attending the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference and participating in the Alzheimer’s Association’s new tag line for AAIC, “The Brains Behind Saving Yours”?  It appears it will take all 5000 of us and more to meet the challenge of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. This conference seemed to confirm that solutions will be combinations of therapies, including brain healthy lifestyles such as nutrition, exercise, and keeping mentally and socially active.  My favorite sessions included discussions of further evidence for the idea that metabolic changes including sugar metabolism and  mitochondrial changes help trigger the etiology of AD, perhaps facilitated by excess oxidative stresses and inflammation.   One of the most intriguing was the Boston Veteran Administration finding that people with cancer appear to have lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s, especially if their cancer treatment included chemotherapy.

Below the photos I’ve added some additional highlights described by the Alzheimer’s Association.

It was great seeing favorite colleagues and meeting new ones at the main conference, the AAIC,

Nancy with AD International Research Conference Founder Bengt Winblad, MD, PhD, Sweden

as well at the Primary Care Preconference, or the parallel conference on Wed. July 17th, Dementia Care @ AAIC.

Nancy with Nikos Scarmeas MD and his colleagues from Columbia. Nick led studies showing the Mediterranean Diet reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

As you can see from the photos below, there were many venues for learning and meeting people; there were social events every evening if you were active as a reviewer for the Alzheimer’s Association, had joined IStaart, and/or were a former national Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors member as I am.

Here are a few photos from the conference; there are more below the script.

The AAIC is a great place to exchange ideas and discover new colleagues and possible collaborations.


As most of you know, my primary research interest is in nutrition as possible way to help prevent

Sandy Auerbach, MD & Nancy at BUSM Nutritional Supplement Combination Therapy Poster

and possibly treat people with neurogenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease.  In addition to my research with colleagues at BUSM, I am also bringing my evidence-based Memory Preservation Nutrition program to the real world.  I’m enjoying working with individuals and organizations (Assisted Living, Adult Day Health, Long Term Care, and Corporate Wellness Programs).  I would welcome a colleague interested in evaluating this nutrition program in practice.

Tom Shea, Ph.D. & Ruth Remington, RN, Ph.D. at their poster showing successful results of Phase II trial of Dr. Shea's nutritional supplement
Tom Shea, Ph.D. & Ruth Remington, RN, Ph.D. at their poster showing successful results of Phase II trial of Dr. Shea’s nutritional supplement

More research highlights from AAIC: Alzheimer’s Association national President Harry Johns offered the following in an email sent to Association leadership:


” Perhaps one of the greatest values of AAIC is the opportunity it provides for scientists early in their careers as well as ideas early in their development to be strengthened through interaction with others.  This was demonstrated again during presentations of four “developing topics.” These topics, which include last-minute calculations and data analysis, explore a variety of approaches to effectively diagnose, treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  They included a review suggesting that screening for dementia in the general population not yet showing signs of the disease has no effect on patient outcomes, a report that suggested misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease when Parkinson’s or vascular dementia is actually present can lead to significant excess costs, the promising early results of a PET scan imaging agent and the potential effectiveness of a tau imaging agent as assessed by a single subject autopsy.  Preliminary results and small sample sizes mean that further validation is required before broad conclusions can be drawn from these topics.  But their presence on the agenda, and the opportunity they provide for scientists to publicly test their own conclusions, spark innovative ideas, and incorporate new ways of thinking into current or planned areas of research, demonstrates just how important this annual, face-to-face conference is – and how critical it is that our Association continue to serve as the global convener, collaborator and catalyst of Alzheimer’s research.


Other intriguing areas of research also had a chance to be showcased at AAIC this week.  One study looked at the important role that individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can have in increasing understanding of Alzheimer’s and its effects for new generations of practitioners.  While this should come as no surprise to anyone who has worked with an individual with the disease, particularly our veteran and newly-named Early Stage Advisory Group (ESAG) participants, studies of this type support ongoing engagement and help break down barriers, hopefully leading to new ideas on how Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed and treated.  Another report released Wednesday afternoon found increasing evidence that subjective cognitive decline (SCD) – the self-reported perception of memory or cognition problems – is a potentially valid early clinical marker of brain and cognitive changes that may indicate Alzheimer’s disease.  Studies such as these may contribute to efforts to enhance early detection, providing those with the disease and their families with better outcomes and a higher quality of life by enabling earlier access to appropriate interventions, allowing the family to build a care team and seek out education and support services, enabling enrollment in Alzheimer’s/dementia clinical trials, and providing an opportunity for the development of advance directives and financial planning.

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