We have an exciting program for 2012. In the first update since 1984, the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association convened expert workgroups to issue new recommendations for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. These updates strongly feature biomarkers; three talks will describe how they enhance early diagnosis.
Two pathology hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease are the amyloid plaque and the neurofibrillary tangle. Tangles without plaques occur in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which results from repeated concussions or other forms of head injury. Athletes in contact sports like football and soldiers exposed to blast injuries are at risk for CTE; Dr. Robert Stern will update us on this area. Dr. Dennis Dickson will discuss the protein tau, which forms tangles in several neurodegenerative disorders and may be a target for treatment. Dr. Jim McGaugh will describe the science of how the brain makes memories.
To accompany tools that enable early detection, we need insights into preventing Alzheimer’s. Dr. Claudia Kawas will present Lessons from the Oldest Old, a population that includes escapees from Alzheimer’s. Dr. Carl Cotman will discuss whether exercise, which may benefit the brain, can help to prevent Alzheimer’s.
For community physicians and advanced practice RNs, our Medical Management Track discusses practical tools for diagnosis and management. Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom will review her thought processes as she examines a new patient with cognitive complaints. Dr. Irene Litvan will discuss the evaluation of parkinsonism. Dr. Tiffany Chow will discuss behavioral symptoms and assessment of Frontotemporal Dementia. Dr. Michael Rafii will describe cognitive and behavioral problems in adults with Down syndrome, which may be related to Alzheimer brain changes.
Our Practical Management Track covers innovative and practical tools applicable to those with memory impairment and in Long Term Care (LTC) settings. The Mayo Clinic will present HABIT, a memory training program for people with Mild Cognitive Impairment. The San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts will present SEPIA, a photography program for seniors, now geared to those with Alzheimer’s. Dan Kuhn will be back to talk about end-stage care of persons with dementia. Finally Dr. Cameron Camp provides expertise on dealing with challenging dynamics between residents and staff in LTC.
Alzheimer’s is a worldwide problem. Researchers in Colombia, South America have identified an extended family of 5000 persons who share genetic susceptibility to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Their story and its implications for the prevention of Alzheimer’s will be described. Dr. John Starr will discuss a study in Scotland that tracks people’s childhood abilities and aging. How does the IQ of a child impact future health and cognition, and is nature or nurture more important? Mike Splaine, a consultant to Alzheimer’s Disease International will discuss the impact of culture on perceptions of Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, Dr. Paul Aisen will update us on clinical trials for Alzheimer’s.
The Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) was established in 1984 as one of the original five Alzheimer’s Disease Centers supported by the National Institute on Aging, a branch of the National Institutes of Health.
Under the direction of Robert Katzman, MD, a number of scientists and scholars renowned for their work in Alzheimer’s disease and aging assembled at UCSD to conduct investigations into the etiology and effects of this devastating disease. Working with multiple facilities around the country, our clinicians and basic researchers have been instrumental in helping the scientific community understand the clinical presentation and the basic biology of the disease. Our clinical studies have also uncovered information that has led to the development of therapies that help slow the progression of the disease and, in some cases, improve memory.
The center’s clinical research program enrolls both people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementias, as well as control subjects. Since its inception, more than 2,000 volunteers have participated in our research studies, including more than 300 participants in our Hispanic program.
At the end of the course, the conference participant should be able to:
- Describe how biomarker tests such as brain imaging and Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis influence the diagnostic process in revised recommendations for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
- Describe how repeated head trauma can lead to neurodegenerative changes in the brain
- Relate the current concepts for prevention of Alzheimer’s including exercise and lessons from the oldest old
- Illustrate key points on history and examination that increase effectiveness in the clinic for the differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and related diseases
- Cite key cognitive and behavioral problems that occur in Frontal Temporal Dementia patients and adults with Down syndrome; describe options for medications to control each of them
- Describe new practical tools for working with patients in long term care
Physicians, researchers, nurses, nurse practitioners, neuropsychologists, physician assistants, residential care and nursing home administrators, social workers and pharmacists.
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