ALBUQUERQUE – With more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are working tirelessly to advance the science that will lead to earlier detection, preventions and additional new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s and all dementias.
This week, more than 10,000 researchers attended the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®) 2022 both in person at the event site in San Diego, California – and virtually – to share the latest scientific advances in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The researchers who gathered in San Diego included two key presenters from New Mexico:
- Kiran Bhaskar, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, UNM; Co-Director, UNM Brain and Behavioral Health Institute (BBHI); Co-Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center of New Mexico). Dr. Bhaskar presented a poster on the topic of brain inflammation in driving Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (“Pathological tau activates nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and drives neuroinflammation”) .
- Gary Rosenberg, MD – Professor of Neurology, UNM; Director, Center for Memory and Aging, SOM – Neurology, SOM – Neurosciences, Director, New Mexico Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (NM ADRC). Dr. Rosenberg presented a poster on the topic of diagnosis of mixed dementia by double dichotomy. Like Dr. Bhaskar, Dr. Rosenberg is also a member of the Medical Sciences Committee of the Alzheimer’s Association, Chapter NM.
Executive Director Tim Sheahan of the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter also made it to the conference, along with several other esteemed state attendees.
- Dr. Goutam Gupta (New Mexico Consortium); and
- Dr. Lena Ernst (Retreat Healthcare, Alzheimer’s Association Board Member).
“We were very happy to have New Mexico represented so well at the conference. So much great research is happening right here in our state,” Sheahan said. “It was impressive to have it showcased alongside some of the most critical and groundbreaking dementia science in the world.”
“This year at AAIC, we heard new ideas about what puts us at risk, as well as a wide range of treatments and prevention methods for Alzheimer’s disease and all dementias,” Sheahan continues. . “There have been great advances in research into Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and the work of the scientific community is extremely promising for the future.
Highlights from the international conference include:
- Another reason to move your body. The results come from the longest-ever clinical trial of exercise in older adults with mild memory problems. After 12 months of regular physical activity – aerobic exercise or stretching – study participants experienced no significant cognitive decline.
- Junk food could harm our brain. Researchers studied more than 10,000 people over eight years and found that high consumption of ultra-processed foods led to a 28% faster decline in cognitive function.
- The impact of racism on memory. In a study of nearly 1,000 adults, exposure to interpersonal and institutional racism was associated with lower memory scores, particularly among black people.
- Longer term impacts of COVID-19. Researchers have found that loss of smell due to COVID-19 infection may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive and functional impairment than disease severity.
- Earning less money can increase the risk of dementia. Compared to workers earning higher wages, people with sustained low income experienced significantly faster memory decline at older ages.
Alzheimer’s disease has devastating consequences, not only on those affected, but on entire families. In our own state, 43,000 New Mexicans over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2025, that number is expected to reach 53,000. Our state has 85,000 unpaid caregivers, many of whom are family members, contributing 158 million hours of care worth $2.6 billion. .
*Source for all statistics: The Facts and Figures on Alzheimer’s Disease 2022 report on www.alz.org/facts.
About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to the care, support and research of Alzheimer’s disease. Our mission is to lead the way to ending Alzheimer’s disease and all other forms of dementia by accelerating global research, promoting risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing the quality of care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementias®. Visit alz.org/newmexico or call 800.272.3900.