Shifting Perspectives on Dementia, Science, and Health Policy

Friday, February 17, 2017: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 306 (Hynes Convention Center)
As life expectancy increases globally, so too do incidences of age-related illness. Nowhere is this more profoundly felt than with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Alzheimer’s disease has been labeled an epidemic and a threat to public health infrastructure. Despite decades of research and significant public investment, there are no effective medications to prevent or halt the disease’s progression. A new approach is urgently needed. In this session, speakers identify critical changes in scientific practice and public policy that could dramatically shift outcomes. In particular, empirical studies increasingly confirm that there are multiple prevention factors and points of intervention in dementia, including social networks, cognitive engagement, diet, and other lifestyle factors. Speakers will demonstrate how new and evolving research frameworks can help shift perspectives on appropriate interventions and societal norms. Examples will include integration of diet and lifestyle factors traditional to many cultures and use of technology to reveal new insights into historical and ongoing longitudinal data. The session will also discuss the enormous potential and need for engagement to develop participant registries and biobanks. The panel will illustrate how coupling new scientific findings and techniques with changes in public health policy could improve and save millions of lives.
Ann Lam, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Rhoda Au, Boston University School of Medicine
Roads to Dementia Prevention: Leveraging the Past and Enabling the Future
Neal D. Barnard, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Alzheimer's Disease: Prevention Through Dietary Interventions