Highlights from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019

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This past week, two of our summer interns, Simran Lubana (University of Maryland, College Park) and Kirsten Couchman (Stanford University) , traveled to Los Angeles to attend the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference of 2019 (AAIC19). The conference is a week long event showcasing both published and unpublished clinical and social research in Alzheimer’s disease and aging. Our interns attended two days of the conference and had the privilege of listening to and learning from leading experts. Because Applied Research Works Inc- Cozeva is a healthcare tech company, they focused their visit towards the technology and epidemiology research presentations.

Some highlights of things we learned from the presentations:

  • The queer community has greater rates of depression and cognitive impairment.
    • Karen Frederick-Goldsen found in a previous study on aging LGB communities that the unique experience of lifetime victimization, financial barriers, and internalized stigmatization led to poor health outcomes and depression.
  • ⅔ of dementia patients are women, but in recent years this has decreased possibly due to the increasing number of women in the  workforce.
    • Elizabeth Rose Mayeda has published previous work on dementia health disparities in racial and ethnic groups to address the National Alzheimer’s Plan of reducing these disparities.

The common themes from this conference were disparities in health care, barriers in recruiting participants from registries for clinical trials, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease and its Related Dementia (ADRD), and the opportunity for new technology to disrupt the current healthcare system.

Couchman and Lubana are currently working on a series of research grants to address clinical care and management of Alzheimer’s disease and comorbidities and on new case management technologies that assist caregivers. Our proposed innovation builds on Cozeva’s current technology platform to address the complexity of care for Alzheimer’s disease. This conference provided our team a greater understanding of the current technologies and gap in technologies as related to both clinical care and research.