Memory and Aging

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from: Longevity Explorers | Providence

Discussion Summary


Understanding Dementia: Research Promises Improved Diagnosis and More Effective Interventions

February 19, 2020 Presentation by Butler Hospital’s Memory and Aging Program

This presentation and follow-up discussion were led by Louisa Thompson, Ph.D., a licensed neuropsychologist and research scientist in Butler Hospital’s Memory and Aging Program. She began with definitions and clarifications to better understand current knowledge regarding memory and aging: what dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are and how they differ from normal aging.

After that orientation, Dr. Thompson provided a detailed look at current research on Alzheimer’s disease with special attention to work being done at Butler Hospital in Rhode Island, where there is a focus on early detection and prevention. Less expensive early-detection methods can potentiate the promise of new treatments thought to be effective at slowing the course of the illness.

Accompanying Dr. Thompson, Ms. Athena Lavoie addressed possibilities for volunteer involvement in the various studies now under way or soon to start. She invited attendees to sign up for the “prevention registry” to become eligible for research opportunities.

Audience questions ranged widely across topics including various forms of dementia and their prognosis; heritability risk; lifestyle contributors to memory health/illness; and relevance of research findings for individuals who participate as volunteers. Dr. Thompson ended with a reminder that as people live longer, prevalence of these problems is rapidly rising – with 30-50% of those over 85 likely to receive diagnoses. The good news is that research is responding, and stigma is decreasing.



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Key words: 
Alzheimer's disease. retinal scanning for diagnosis