2016 Healthcare Symposium

2016 Healthcare Symposium

Lessans symposium sheds light on Alzheimer's prevention, treatment, and research

You can’t change your age, family history, or past medical problems, but there are plenty of things you can change to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and decline.

Robert Krikorian, MDThat was the main message delivered to 185 attendees by keynote speaker Robert Krikorian, PhD, at the sixth Sara and Samuel J. Lessans Healthcare Symposium for Clinicians and Caregivers, held at the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville on April 15. Krikorian, of the University of Cincinnati, is a lead researcher in the role of nutrition in the management of Alzheimer’s disease. He says for many at-risk individuals, Alzheimer’s pathology is present in the brain 20-30 years before symptoms. This is good news because that period represents a significant opportunity for risk reduction through lifestyle modifications that include diet, exercise, cognitive and social engagement, sleep patterns, leisure and musical activities, and stress reduction.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment or prevention plan but generally, Krikorian says, “health in mid-life predicts health in late life,” with refinements in nutrition representing the primary intervention. “Poor nutrition choices within the Western diet can contribute to virtually all age-related diseases,” he noted. On the other hand, “diet can be your friend.” He cited research that indicates *eating blueberries and strawberries, drinking three cups of (caffeinated, unsweetened) coffee a day, and getting a healthy dose of B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, dark cocoa powder, and grape juice can have a positive effect on the brain and help delay cognitive impairment. Obesity was associated with brain atrophy.

This year’s symposium, On the Horizon: New Approaches in Alzheimer’s Prevention, Treatment, and Research, included an early morning track for physicians on incorporating clinical trial and research results into their practices, as well as two popular breakout sessions with experts sharing the latest advances in medication and in alternative approaches to slowing memory loss.

The annual event is part of Charles E. Smith Life Communities’ commitment to limud - growth and learning. It was held in partnership with Suburban and Sibley Memorial Hospitals, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and supported by the Sara and Samuel J. Lessans Fund, Optum, and Minkoff Company. 


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