Knowledge is Power!

In its “World Alzheimer Report 2014,” Alzheimer’s Disease International describes “dementia” as “one of the biggest global public health challenges facing our generation,” and reiterates an often quoted prediction:  the number of people living with symptoms of dementia is likely to double by 2030 and triple by 2050.[1]

The over 100 page report is devoted to analyzing protective and potentially modifiable risk factors for development of symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The focus on prevention and risk mitigation is a logical consequence of the fact that there is no known cure or even dramatically effective treatment for this progressive and devastating disease.

A look back…

Dr. Alois Alzheimer was born in 1864. He obtained his medical degree in 1887, and began to pursue his interest in the study of the human brain. Dr. Alzheimer created a brain research laboratory at Germany’s Munich Medical School in 1903, and just a few years later, he presented a lecture that would eventually result in his fame and association by name with the disease that now affects more than 500,000 people in Florida, five million people in the United States and over 40 million worldwide.

In his lecture, Dr. Alzheimer described the case of a female patient who demonstrated severe memory loss, disorientation, and paranoia, and who passed away at age 55.  In the course of a post-mortem examination of this patient’s brain, he identified and described brain shrinkage and, for the first time, “nerve tangles.” 

In 1910, Dr. Alzheimer’s research partner, Dr. Emil Kraepelin, characterized these brain changes as “Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Dr. Alzheimer passed away in 1915. 100 years later, we strive to find a cure, effectively treat symptoms, and add a new emphasis on prevention.

A look forward…

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), based in Bethesda, Maryland, projects 2015 spending on Alzheimer’s research at over 550 million dollars, and NIH currently funds close to 500 active clinical trials! These studies focus on the early, middle and late stages of the disease, and also on the preclinical stage – the period of time in which changes in the brain may be occurring, but not yet producing any symptoms. 

This notion of identifying disease before actual symptoms appear should not be foreign to us. We have readily adopted mammograms for early diagnosis of breast cancer, blood tests to identify a wide variety of conditions such as high cholesterol or early liver or kidney impairment, colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer, to name just a few...  

The theme of our upcoming, 18th Annual Educational Conference is:

Knowledge is Power!

The author, essayist, politician and scientist, Francis Bacon is credited with this simple phrase in the late 16th century, and it is said that he was intending to convey the connection between knowledge and the ability to control events. 

Alzheimer’s Community Care’s 18th Annual Educational Conference will provide the knowledge and tools to answer the following questions:

  • What must we know in order to provide the best care for our loved ones and patients with Alzheimer’s disease? 

Understanding behavior as communication of needs

Advocating for safe, appropriate care

Recognizing the particular risks affecting our loved ones and patients

  • How can we better address the challenges of caregiving? 

Identifying the support systems and tools for reducing caregiver stress

Accessing available and appropriate community resources

  • Can we be proactive in protecting our own brain health?

Understanding risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and related neurocognitive disorders

Learning about our individual risks based on family history, environment and life style

 

This is but a taste of the topics to be discussed in more than 25 different programs at the Annual Conference!

Our two-day Conference directly reflects our country’s first national plan to confront Alzheimer’s disease.

 

In 2011, President Obama signed the “National Alzheimer’s Project Act” (NAPA) into law. This law provided for millions of additional research dollars, and mandates an “integrated national plan to overcome Alzheimer’s disease,” as well as an accelerated approach to treatments targeting prevention, halting, or reversal of the course of this progressive disease.[2]

In addition, NAPA provides for multi-year programs which include:

  • Expanding education and training that is culturally sensitive;
  • Assisting families to plan for future care needs;
  • Maintaining the dignity, safety and rights of those with Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Building a workforce with the skills needed to provide the highest quality care;
  • Coordinating research with public and private entities;
  • Exploring new models of care for those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Community Care’s 18th Annual Educational Conference will present speakers with knowledge and expertise in all of these areas.

Our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Neil Buckholtz, is the Director of the Neuroscience Division at the National Institute on Aging, (a division of NIH). Dr. Buckholtz will present the Past, Present, and Future of Alzheimer’s Disease Research” from his national perspective, including the exciting advances in the study of genetic markers.

Teepa Snow, nationally recognized speaker on caring for and communicating with patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related neurocognitive disorders, will discuss wellness and well-being after diagnosis as well as moments of joy for caregivers.

Laura Feldman, Grassroots Manager of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, will discuss the myths and the realities of these two programs.

Dr. David Watson, Founder of the local Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment Center, and a Certified Clinical Trial Investigator will discuss the various approaches for preventive interventions as well as clinical trials targeting the stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Louis Colbert, is the Vice President of Operations for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. Mr. Colbert will discuss cultural diversity and changes in caregiving. 

More than 20 additional Breakout Sessions will address what you need to know to exercise your power in impacting the care of your loved ones and patients!

For more information on the 2015 Alzheimer’s Educational Conference please visit the Alzheimer's Educational Conference page.

 

[1] World Alzheimer Report 2014, Alzheimer’s Disease International, London, September 2014

[2] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease,                    

        http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/napa/NatlPlan2014.pdf





Alzheimer's Community Care is proudly supported by our friends and partners in the community.