2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference Highlights

2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) Highlights

Promising new data results for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Results from more than a dozen experimental drug studies at AAIC show the research community attacking Alzheimer’s disease from multiple angles, targeting the underlying causes and some of the most pernicious symptoms. These advances show a clear maturation of the Alzheimer’s research field, a recognition of the need for a broader attack, and hint at future possibilities for combination therapy. New reports included advanced trials and new analyses in three drugs targeting the abnormal amyloid protein that forms plaques in the brain (one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s), plus three drug trials that target other pathways and symptoms in the disease, including psychiatric symptoms such as agitation.

Taking a longer term vision, another set of studies at AAIC 2015 reviewed early-stage results on three types of investigational drugs that suggest they have the potential to work across brain diseases that cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lewy Body dementia, based on small preliminary studies in animal models and test tubes.

28 Million Baby Boomers will get Alzheimer’s disease
At AAIC 2015, projections reported by The Lewin Group for the Alzheimer’s Association show that 28 million American baby boomers will get Alzheimer’s by midcentury — a deluge that will consume nearly 25 percent of Medicare spending in 2040 — unless there are significant advances in treatment and prevention. A study by the same group released earlier this year suggested that a treatment that delays the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years could save $220 billion within the first few years of its introduction.

Type 1 diabetes identified as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease
The first study of dementia risk, including Alzheimer’s disease, in older adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) was reported at AAIC 2015. The study looking at a healthcare database of more than 490,000 people over 60 years old found that participants with T1D were 60 to 93 percent more likely to get dementia compared with people without diabetes, even when the diabetes is treated. More research is needed to validate this finding and investigate the biological reasons for the increased risk in T1D. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are rapidly increasing worldwide, and people with type 1 are living longer than ever before.

Early education impacts future risk for Alzheimer’s disease
Two studies from Sweden presented at AAIC 2015 suggest a correlation between childhood school performance (ages 9-10) and the development of late life dementia. Both studies analyzed the impact that early schooling, secondary education and occupational complexity have on the risk of developing dementia. In the first study of more than 7,500 individuals aged 65+, dementia risk was elevated 21 percent in people who were in the lowest 20 percent of childhood school grades, and dementia risk was reduced 23 percent among individuals in occupations characterized by high complexity with data and numbers. Importantly, high occupational complexity could not compensate for the effect of low childhood school marks. Results from the second study also found significant correlations between grades/work complexity and dementia risk. In this population of 440 men and women age 75 and older, dementia risk was elevated more than 50 percent in individuals over 75 with the lowest 20 percent of early-life school grades, even if they had more formal education or a job was associated with significant complexity.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 10 Ways to Love Your Brain, formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

Women are at greater risk for cognitive decline and dementia
Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease. According to Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, almost two-thirds of American seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Women are also more likely to be caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s. The most recent data show that 63 percent of all unpaid Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women.

At AAIC 2015, two studies revealed how the pace and impact of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline may be different between the sexes. One study of about 400 people with mild cognitive impairment (141 women, 257 men), mostly in their mid-seventies, showed that women deteriorate twice as fast as men with the condition in both cognitive and functional abilities. Additionally, women declined much more dramatically than men in cognition, function and brain size following surgery with general anesthesia, according to a separate study presented at the conference that reviewed 527 older adults from two different research program databases examining cognitive aging. There is a clear need to investigate why this is the case. Is it simply that women live longer than men, or is there something different in the anatomy, biology and/or genetics that contributes to higher prevalence and faster decline?

TrialMatch® Links People with Dementia, Clinical Studies

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Did you know that the Alzheimer’s Association offers a service called Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch® that assists people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, their families, and caregivers participate in clinical trials?

TrialMatch®, which is available at no charge and is confidential, provides participants with comprehensive clinical trial information. As the name implies, the service matches people with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia with existing clinical studies. To date, TrialMatch® has matched more than 11,000 people to Alzheimer’s clinical trials based on their diagnosis, preferences, and location.

TrialMatch® is easily accessible 24 hours a day at http://www.alz.org/trialmatch. TrialMatch Specialists are available via telephone at 800-272-3900, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Central time.

The specialists at TrialMatch® will not recommend any particular clinical trial, but will describe all studies for which the person is eligible. They will answer questions about the trial process and connect individuals with trial sites based on their unique profiles.

The Alzheimer’s Association created TrialMatch® because recruiting and retaining participants for clinical studies is one of the greatest obstacles to developing the next generation of Alzheimer treatments. Those with dementia diseases, as well as healthy individuals are needed for a variety of studies. The immediate need for advances in diagnosis, treatment and prevention has led to an unprecedented call for clinical study participants.

Since the service launched in July 2010, more than 85,000 individuals have registered for Alzheimer’s clinical trials. Currently, Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch® lists 250 research studies with 1000+ local trial sites nationwide.


The Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, released earlier this week, found that only 45 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease or their caregivers say they were told the diagnosis by their doctor. In contrast, more than 90 percent of people with the four most common cancers (breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer) say they were told the diagnosis.

“The Alzheimer’s disclosure rates are disturbingly low and reminiscent of disclosure rates seen for cancer in 1950s and 1960s when mention of the word cancer was taboo,” said Jeff Baldwin, Communications Director for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter. “Sharing the diagnosis early is critical to ensure that the individual can play an active role in their own care – allowing them to benefit from planning and support services that can make it easier to manage the disease.”

“We can, and must do better,” added Baldwin.

The Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Facts and Figures report also found that people with Alzheimer’s or their caregivers were more likely to say they were told the diagnosis by their doctor after the disease had become more advanced. According to the Association, this is a problem because learning the diagnosis later in the course of the progressive brain disease may mean the person’s capacity to participate in decision making about care plans, or legal and financial issues, may be diminished, and their ability to participate in research or fulfill lifelong plans may be limited.

One of the reasons most commonly cited by health care providers for not disclosing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is fear of causing the patient emotional distress. However, according to the new report, “studies that have explored this issue have found that few patients become depressed or have other long-term emotional problems because of the [Alzheimer’s] diagnosis.”


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, telling the person with Alzheimer’s the truth about his or her diagnosis should be standard practice. Disclosure can be delivered in a sensitive and supportive manner that avoids unnecessary distress.

The benefits of promptly and clearly explaining a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s have been established in several studies. Benefits include better access to quality medical care and support services, and the opportunity for people with Alzheimer’s to participate in decisions about their care, including providing informed consent for current and future treatment plans. Knowing the diagnosis early enables the person with Alzheimer’s to get the maximum benefit from available treatments, and may also increase chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research.


The 2015 Facts and Figures report provides an in-depth look at the prevalence, incidence, mortality and economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – all of which continue to rise at staggering rates as the American population ages.

Prevalence, Incidence and Mortality

• According to the report, an estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, including 130,000 Virginians. Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease will rise to 13.8 million by 2050.
• Almost half a million (approx. 473,000) people age 65 or older will develop Alzheimer’s in the U.S. in 2015. Every 67 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s. By mid-century, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
• Two-thirds (3.2 million) of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s are women.
• Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and the fifth-leading cause of death for those age 65 and older.
• From 2000-2013, the number of Alzheimer’s deaths increased 71 percent, while deaths from other major diseases decreased.
• Heart disease deaths decreased 14 percent; stroke deaths, 23 percent; HIV deaths, 52 percent; prostate cancer deaths, 11 percent; and breast cancer deaths, 2 percent.

Costs and Financial Impact

• Alzheimer’s is the costliest disease to society. Total 2015 payments for caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are estimated at $226 billion, of which $153 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid alone.
• Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1 trillion in 2050 (in current dollars).
• In 2014, the 15.7 million family and other unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provided an estimated 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at $217.7 billion (with care valued at $12.17 per hour).
• There are 452,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers in Virginia providing 514,000,000 hours of unpaid care valued at $6,259,000,000.

Full text of the Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report can be viewed at http://www.alz.org/facts.


The Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report is a comprehensive compilation of national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The report conveys the impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals, families, government and the nation’s health care system. Since its 2007 inaugural release, the report has become the preeminent source covering the broad spectrum of Alzheimer’s issues. The Facts and Figures report is an official publication of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars


Recommended Federal Funding Would be Recouped within First Three Years of an Alzheimer’s Treatment Becoming Available

The U.S. could save $220 billion within the first five years of a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease being introduced, according to a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association report, Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars, takes an in-depth look at the potential lives saved and positive economic impact if a hypothetical treatment that effectively delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is discovered and made available to Americans by 2025. The report shows that meeting the 2025 goal of the national Alzheimer’s plan would reduce the number of individuals affected by the disease by 2.5 million within the first five years of a treatment being available.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a triple threat, with soaring prevalence, lack of treatment and enormous costs, that no one can afford,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “If we’re going to change the current trajectory of the disease, thus saving lives and money, we need consistent and meaningful investments in research from the federal government.”

The report reinforces the value of reaching the 2025 goal set by the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease mandate by the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). If the federal government were to invest $2 billion per year as recommended by the scientific community, then it would recoup its investment within the first three years after a treatment became available.

“Promising research is ready for the pipeline, and leading scientists believe the national goal is attainable if we accelerate federal funding,” said Johns. “With millions of lives and trillions of dollars at stake, we need real progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s.”

The Impact of Introducing a Hypothetical Treatment in 2025

A treatment introduced in 2025 that delays the onset of Alzheimer’s would cut the number of people in 2050 who have the disease by 42% – from 13.5 million to 7.8 million.

While delaying onset, finding a cure and saving lives are the most important goals, bringing some financial relief to the health care system and those affected by the disease is also a top priority. Under the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, Congress has required the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to submit a professional judgment budget to Congress every fiscal year until 2025 to help guide them in allocating funding for Alzheimer’s research.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s report shows the positive impact of adequate funding and the potential consequences of under-funding.

• In 2015, the costs to all payers for the care of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will total an estimated $226 billion, with Medicare and Medicaid paying 68 percent of the costs. Without a treatment costs are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.

• Reaching the 2025 goal would save payers $220 billion over five years and $367 billion in the year 2050 alone. Savings to Medicare and Medicaid would account for nearly 60 percent of the savings.

• People living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their families would save $54 billion over the first five years in their out-of-pocket costs if the 2025 goal is met.

The Alzheimer’s Association is working closely with the federal government to ensure the plan and goals outlined under NAPA are being executed and met. A full text of the Alzheimer’s Association Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars can be viewed at http://www.alz.org/trajectory.

September Educational Programs – Fredericksburg Area




The Fredericksburg branch of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter will offer the following educational programs to the general public during the month of September. Advance registration is required. Please call Lori Myers at 540-370-0835 for more information or to register.

September 17th; 9:30am-12:30pm
Living with Alzheimer’s: Late Stage – for Caregivers
Salem Church Library
2607 Salem Church Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22407

September 18th; 1:30-3pm
Getting Started: What to do if you Suspect a Family Member has Dementia or has been Diagnosed with Dementia
2217 Princess Anne Street; 2nd Floor Conference Room
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

To view the list of educational programs for October, please visit http://www.alz.org/grva/in_my_community_education.asp

September Educational Programs – Richmond and Tri-Cities Area





The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter will be offering the following programs to the general public during the month of September. Advance registration is required by calling 804-967-2580.

September 3rd; 10am-2pm
Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Moderate Stage – for the Caregiver
John Randolph Medical Center
Family Life Center
411 W. Randolph Street
Hopewell, VA 23860

September 9th; 6-7:30pm
Use Your Resources: Reach Out and Accept Help
Spring Arbor Richmond
9991 Ridgefield Parkway
Henrico, VA 23233

September 13th; 9am-Noon
Charting the Journey: Know the 10 Signs, Family Stress & Dynamics and Legal & Financial Issues
Good Shepherd Baptist Church
1127 N. 28th Street
Henrico, VA 23223

September 13th; 11am-Noon
Know the 10 Signs
AARP Mechanicsville at Moose Lodge – Richmond East
7167 Flag Lane
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

September 15th; 10am-Noon
Know the 10 Signs
Forest Grove Christian Church
3881 Hadensville-Fife Road
Goochland, VA 23063

September 16th; 5:30-6:30pm
What is Respite and What Are Your Options?
Hanover Adult Day Care
7231 Stonewall Parkway
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

September 17th; 6:30-8pm
Living with Alzheimer’s: A Personal Perspective
Shalom Baptist Church
6395 Mechanicsville Turnpike
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

September 24th; 1-5pm
Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Moderate Stage – for Caregivers
Spring Arbor Salisbury
14001 Turnberry Lane
Midlothian, VA 23113
Lite lunch provided

September 30th; 10am-2pm
Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Early Stage – for Caregivers
Powhatan County Library
2270 Mann Road
Powhatan, VA 23139
Lite lunch provided

To view the list of educational programs for October, please visit http://www.alz.org/grva/in_my_community_education.asp

Alzheimer’s Findings Seen as a Possible New Window to Understanding the Disease

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic have discovered a possible new link between an abnormal protein in the brain and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a breakthrough that could open new avenues to understanding the disease and finding effective treatments.

Abnormal forms of the protein, which assists DNA in coding and building new proteins inside the cell, appear to increase the atrophy of regions of the brain important to memory. And it could be a trigger of some kind, perhaps independently initiating the onset of Alzheimer’s-related dementia when combined with two other proteins whose abnormalities have long been implicated in the disease.

These findings, and more, were presented during the recently concluded six-day Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, AAIC, in Copenhagen.

AAIC is the world’s largest conference of its kind, bringing together researchers from around the world to report and discuss groundbreaking research and information on the cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

To read more about the Mayo Clinic discovery, click here.

To see all the 2014 AAIC video highlights, click here.