Global Brain Health Leader Awards for Dementia Prevention, Care and Support Announced

To address the growing worldwide public health crisis due to dementia, the prevalence of which is expected to triple worldwide to 152 million by 2050, three leading organizations announced this year's Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders.

The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), Alzheimer's Association, and the UK-based Alzheimer's Society have united to address global challenges with access to care, stigma, brain health risk factors, and other key issues through a competitive funding program for emerging leaders in brain health and dementia.

Investments include research in the areas of advocacy, systems change, applied research and more. The awards will drive projects, activities, and research to address disparities in dementia diagnosis, treatment, and care for vulnerable populations and their families.

The 2019 awards - 27 in total - include a study of air pollution and dementia in Brazil, an investigation of social media use as an early indication of cognitive decline in Egypt, and an arts project in the U.S. that involves people living with dementia and their care partners in the creation and active participation in a dance performance.

This year's Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders span 14 countries across five continents, including Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Romania, South Africa, UK and USA. The total funding of approximately $675,000 (£533,000, €612,000) includes about $25,000 (£19,700, €22,700) for each individual award to enable the recipients' to pilot test a project and then, if successful, seek further resources to scale up their work.

“The Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders program aims to help emerging leaders in brain health to delay, prevent and reduce the impact of dementia,” said Victor Valcour, MD, PhD, executive director of GBHI. “These awards will drive real impact across the globe.”

List of 2019 Pilot Project Awards

  • Rhythm for Life, a Training for Creative Musical Interaction in Dementia (UK; Bentley, Jane)

  • Preventable Burden of Dementia in South Africa (South Africa/USA; Bobrow, Kirsty)

  • Why Participate: Exploring Motives to Participate in Prevention Research (Ireland; Booi, Laura)

  • Exploring the Power of Active Clowning Aphasia Intervention (Brazil; Brandao, Lenisa)

  • My Life My Way, a CLEAR Model for Dementia Care (UK; Casey, Siobhan)

  • The Magdalena Project; Erasing Stigma Around Aging and Dementia (USA; Christa, Gabri)

  • Optimizing Brain Health for Care Partners: An Educational Curriculum (USA; Culler, Krystal)

  • Early Screening for Dementia: Downstream Impacts on the Health System (USA; Dawson, Walter)

  • Exposure to Air Pollution and Dementia: a Clinicopathologic Study (Brazil; Fajersztajn, Laís)

  • Informal Caregivers: Mixed Methods Approach to Study of Burden Experiences (Ireland; Galvin, Miriam)

  • Situational Analysis of Dementia in Colombia (Colombia; Guerrero, Alejandra)

  • Towards a Latin American Approach to Dementia Networking (Argentina; Ibáñez, Agustín)

  • Strengthening Research Capacity and Policy Responses to Dementia in Romania (Ireland/Romania; Ilinca, Stefania)

  • Brain Volume and Diffusion Changes in Presymptomatic Familial Prion Disease (Israel; Keret, Ophir)

  • A Photographic Perspective on Aging in Peru (Peru; Kornhuber, Alex)

  • ISM: An Intergenerational Montessori-Based Approach for Successful Aging (Costa Rica; Leon Salas, Jorge)

  • Frequency and Determinants of Vascular Cognitive Impairment in Post Stroke (Mexico; Martin, Jeronimo)

  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Informational Supports for People with TBI (Botswana; Mbakile, Lingani)

  • Brain Networks in People with Down Syndrome: the Effect of AD pathology (Ireland; McGlinchey, Eimear)

  • Detecting Cognitive Impairment in Brazilians with Low Education (Brazil; Okada de Oliveira, Maira)

  • Characterizing Mistreatment in Mexican Cognitively Impaired Older Adults (Mexico; Piña Escudero, Stefanie)

  • Cognitive Health and Functional Abilities of Illiterate Older Peruvians (Peru; Pintado, Maritza)

  • Promoting Brain Health: Development of Patient Education Resources (South Africa; Ranchod, Kirti)

  • For You, (a dance performance for people affected by dementia) (USA; Richie, Rowena)

  • Facebook Interaction as a Potential Marker of Cognitive Decline (Egypt; Salama, Mohamed)

  • Rewriting the Dementia Narrative Across the Globe Through Story (USA; Walrath, Dana)

  • Finding the Right Words: Alzheimer’s, Literature, Science (USA; Weinstein, Cindy)

Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI)

The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) is a leader in the global community dedicated to protecting the world's aging populations from threats to brain health. GBHI works to reduce the scale and impact of dementia around the world by training and connecting the next generation of leaders in brain health through the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program; by collaborating in expanding preventions and interventions; and by sharing knowledge and engaging in advocacy.

The Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program, based at GBHI, provides innovative training, networking and support to emerging leaders who are focused on bringing transformative change to improve brain health and reduce the impact of dementia worldwide. It is one of seven Atlantic Fellows programs to advance fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies.

GBHI is based at the University of California, San Francisco, and Trinity College Dublin. Visit http://www.gbhi.org or find us on Twitter @GBHI_Fellows.

Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's®. Visit http://www.alz.org or call 800.272.3900. Follow us on Twitter at @alzassociation.

Alzheimer's Society

Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The mission of Alzheimer's Society UK is to transform the landscape of dementia forever. Until the day we find a cure, we will strive to create a society where those affected by dementia are supported and accepted, able to live in their community without fear or prejudice.

Alzheimer's Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk.

Alzheimer's Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk

Photo credit: Alex Kornhumber, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health

Kristine Yaffe Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Kristine Yaffe, MD, professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology, and Roy and Marie Scola Endowed Chair and vice chair in psychiatry at UC San Francisco, is among the 100 new members elected in 2019 to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. 

Election to the NAM recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service in the medical sciences, health care and public health. 

"I am honored to join the National Academy of Medicine,” said Yaffe, a faculty member of the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI). “Now more than ever, I am determined to continue to develop scalable strategies for dementia risk reduction across diverse populations."

Yaffe is an international leader in the identification of dementia risk factors. She conducted landmark studies on the links between dementia and hormone therapy, physical activity, cardiovascular risk factors, sleep quality, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury. Her forward-thinking perspective on the relationship between modifiable risk factors and dementia—particularly recognizing the continuum of cognitive aging—has provided specific targets for dementia prevention and placed her at the cutting-edge of the field.

Yaffe has been identified as one of the most highly cited researchers in her field by the Web of Science and has received several awards for her distinguished scholarly work, including the Royer Award for Academic Excellence in Psychiatry, the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Distinguished Scientist Award, the UCSF Faculty Research Awards in Clinical Science, and the 2017 Potamkin Award for dementia research. 

The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the national and the international community.

Read more from the National Academy of Medicine and UCSF News.

Efforts to Fight Dementia in South America Take Big Step Forward

International collaboration will develop the first open network to consider determinants of dementia in South America

By Niall Kavanagh

“If we really want to make change, we have to go beyond borders,” said Agustín Ibáñez, PhD, an Atlantic Fellow at Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI)—a collaboration between University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin—and a neuroscientist from Argentina. “In Latin American countries, most clinical and research groups work in isolation or in sporadic collaboration.”

Across South America—where a third of the population lives in poverty, combined with one of the world’s fastest growing elderly populations—countries are experiencing growing rates of dementia faster than most of the world. Globally, cases of dementia are expected to increase to 152 million by 2050, yet seventy-five percent of cases are expected in Latin America and Africa, where only three percent of dementia research takes place.

To address these challenges, Ibanez and collaborators from GBHI, including Bruce Miller, MD; Jennifer Yokoyama, PhD; Kate Possin, PhD; Victor Valcour, MD, PhD; Howie Rosen, MD; and Joel Kramer, PsyD, are developing an ambitious project to consider the genetic, social/environmental and neurocognitive determinants of dementia in more than 3,000 individuals from Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. are developing an ambitious project to consider the genetic, social/environmental and neurocognitive determinants of dementia in more than 3,000 individuals from Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina.

Directed by Ibáñez and Miller, co-director of GBHI, the U.S.-South American Initiative for Genetic-Neural-Behavioral Interactions in Human Neurodegenerative Research was awarded $2.5 million from the National Institute of Health to develop the first digital platform of shared data on dementia in South America. The data will be compared with individuals from the United States.

“We expect to make important discoveries and to set the stage for broader collaborations in South America and across the globe,” said Miller. “I expect this project will provide new essential information to the field of dementia and to our understanding of its neurobiology.”

Since its founding in 2015, GBHI has invested major efforts to address the dementia epidemic in South America. In the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program, a third of the fellows are from this region.

The U.S.-South American Initiative will be coordinated with the Latin American and Caribbean Consortium for Dementia, and also includes partners from the Alzheimers’ Association; Hospital Universitario San Ignacio; Institute for Cognitive and Translational Neuroscience; Instituto Peruano de Neurociencias; Pontificia Universidad Javeriana; Tau Consortium; United Consortium; Universidad de Antioquia; Universidade de Sao Paulo; and University of California, Santa Barbara.

For World Alzherimer’s Day, Dana Walrath and Brian Lawlor Publish Moving Essay on Dementia in The Lancet

By Maura Gallahue

There is hope…

In an era where stigmatisation that surrounds dementia remains a global problem that requires global action, Dana Walrath, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health, together with Prof. Brian Lawlor, Deputy Executive Director of Global Brain Health Institute, trace some of the social origins of dementia stigma in essay published in The Lancet on September 21. Here, they reflect on a new republic of hope for dementia. A hope that challenges the stigma, breaks down barriers, and focuses on restoring personhood for the patient diagnosed and also their care partners.

To coincide with World Alzheimer’s Day, this essay looks at how dementia challenges us as a society to examine what it means to be human. The authors provide readers with an uplifting lens through which to understand the idea of hope and connection and to recognise the persistence of human qualities that reveal proximity to our essential humanity.

“Seeing dementia as a diversity issue, as a different way of being, allows those living with it to be our teachers,” write Lawlor and Walrath. “This approach confers hope, honour, and respect to people living with this disease.”

Read this article on The Lancet: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)32099-9/fulltext

Reducing Dementia Worldwide: Meet the 2019–20 Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health

In September 2019, a new group of emerging leaders will join a global movement to protect the world’s aging population from threats to brain health: the 2019–20 Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI).

Hailing from twenty countries spanning Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia—and from various disciplines including the arts and humanities, medicine, cognitive science, public health, education and advocacy—the fellows represent a wide range of expertise, ambition and promise.

“We are thrilled to welcome this new, distinguished cohort of fellows to the Atlantic community,” said Victor Valcour, MD, executive director of GBHI. “They represent a tremendous opportunity to grow the global movement of brain health.”

The incoming cohort expands the Atlantic Fellows for Brain Equity program’s geographic spread to include seven new countries, including Bermuda, Chile, Ethiopia and Kenya. The program now totals 119 fellows from 36 countries.

Meet the new cohort of Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health.

Since 2016, the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program has trained a global community of interprofessional emerging leaders in brain health, leadership, and dementia prevention through a 12-month residential program at one of its founding sites, University of California, San Francisco or Trinity College Dublin.

Through their work, fellows emphasize local and global inequities in brain health that need to be addressed by practitioners and policymakers, with the goal of reducing the scale and impact of dementia in local communities around the world. On completion of their training, fellows join a lifelong catalytic community of seven Atlantic Fellows programs working to advance fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies.

Atlantic Fellows at GBHI Celebrate Joint Graduation

By Niall Kavanagh

“Commencement is not the end, but the beginning of a deeper and enduring connection.”

Brian Lawlor, deputy director of the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), shared these words to close an inspiring joint ceremony celebrating the graduation of the third cohort of Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health at UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) on August 8.

The graduating fellows—who have spent the last twelve months based at UCSF or TCD, GBHI’s founding sites, training in brain health, leadership, and dementia prevention—now join a lifelong community of seven Atlantic Fellows programs working to advance fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies.

“There’s an incredible movement for social justice happening around the world, said Victor Valcour, executive director of GBHI, in his opening address. “And we are a part of it.”

At the simulcast event, Veronica Campbell, Bursar & Director of Strategic Innovation at TCD, served as commencement speaker. She reflected on the practice of collaboration, which is foundational to GBHI’s multidisciplinary program, and the importance of changing the narrative of dementia.

“To effect change for elder care, you're much stronger if you can harness the support and the expertise of others,” said Campbell. “By working collaboratively, so much more can be achieved than any institution or any individual working on their own.”

Through their work, fellows emphasize local and global inequities in brain health with the goal of reducing the scale and impact of dementia in local communities around the world. Two graduating fellows shared reflections of their training year.

“What is most important of this experience is what we have had together,” said Maira Okada de Oliveira, a neuropsychologist from Brazil. “At the end of the day, it’s all about people.” She credited her closing line to the founder of Atlantic Philanthropies, Chuck Feeney.

Kirti Ranchod, a neurologist from South Africa, explored the challenging next steps to address the worldwide epidemic of dementia. “We thrive on challenges, we are problem solvers,” said Ranchod. “If you want to fly, you have to give up the things weighing you down.”

Atlantic Senior Fellows from GBHI, that is, graduates of the program, now total 78, spanning nearly 30 countries worldwide. They continue to have access to career-duration mentoring, funding opportunities, global gatherings, and more.

In his closing remarks, Lawlor shared appreciation for the opportunity to address the global challenge of dementia collaboratively, even in the face of differences.

“I think the beauty of GBHI and Atlantic is people are connecting where there is no common ground,” said Lawlor. “It's about connecting across differences. And when you bridge differences and connect, you can really change culture. That’s really what we're about: changing the culture around dementia.

Atlantic Institute Announces Winners of the Inaugural Atlantic Senior Fellows Awards

Two projects emblematic of the vision and values of the Atlantic Fellows win £50 000 each

This story originally appeared on www.AtlanticFellows.org

OXFORD, UK – The Atlantic Institute has awarded the inaugural Atlantic Senior Fellows Awards to two projects that advance its mission to create fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies.

This year’s Atlantic Senior Fellows awards, worth £50 000 each and open to Fellows who have graduated their programs, were presented to two teams for their impactful work:

• The East Mediterranean Brain Health Initiative (EMBHI)

EMBHI is a joint project of three Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health: Hany Ibrahim of Cairo, Egypt, Elaine Howard of Kilkenny, Ireland, and Stelios Zygouris of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Designed primarily to help people with dementia in underserved populations, the EMBHI promotes information and expertise sharing among participating countries. Starting with Greece and Egypt, the aim is to create a vibrant community of expertise in the East Mediterranean that will work collaboratively to implement better brain health services.

• The Development of a Health Impact Assessment Framework for the Philippines

This is a joint initiative of two Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity in Southeast Asia: Somporn Pengkam of Thailand and Beverly Lorraine Chua Ho of the Philippines.

This project successfully introduces a new way of engaging deeply with local communities in the Philippines to understand and address the health impacts of large-scale industrial projects. Both Pengkam and Ho see rich potential for sharing their experience more broadly in the Southeast Asia region.

Atlantic Institute Executive Director, Dr Penelope Brook said the inaugural Senior Fellow Awards recognise, support and celebrate impactful work that is emblematic of the vision and values of the Atlantic Fellows global community.

Four projects in all were shortlisted for the Senior Fellow Awards: other finalists were Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity, Jane Sloane for her project: Framing Equality and comedian and monologuist, Josh Kornbluth, Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health for his project: Citizen Brain. Both awards were presented at a ceremony at Rhodes House in Oxford where the Atlantic Institute is based and which was attended by more than 130 Fellows from the seven global Atlantic Fellows programs. Next year will see four Atlantic Senior Fellow Awards presented, each worth £50 000 to align with the year on year increase in the number of Fellows.

The Atlantic Fellows is supported by Atlantic Philanthropies.

About the winners:

The East Mediterranean Brain Health Initiative

• Elaine Howard, Kilkenny, Ireland: Elaine holds a master’s of science in dementia from Trinity College Dublin. Working in both the private and NGO health care sectors, her expertise lies in developing and implementing personalized care for people with dementia, facilitating changes in practice, and sharing that knowledge to enable practice and policy change across the wider sector. She also has extensive experience in operational management and service model development and implementation within the financial services sector.

• Hany Ibrahim, Cairo, Egypt: Hany is a geriatrician in the Geriatric and Gerontology Department, Ain Shams University Hospital, Cairo, Egypt. He completed his residency in both geriatric medicine and internal medicine at Ain Shams University Hospital with clinical experience in a variety of elderly care programs, such as acute, sub-acute, long term care, home care, and critical care management. He holds a master’s of science degree in late onset depression and a doctorate degree in geriatric medicine from Ain Shams University. He also holds a diploma in hospital management. Currently, Ibrahim is a lecturer in geriatric medicine and director of the Geriatric Intensive Care Unit at Ain Shams University Hospital.

• Stelios Zygouris, Thessaloniki, Greece: Stelios is a neuropsychologist focusing on computerized cognitive testing and specializing in the use of serious games for cognitive screening. He created the first serious game-based cognitive screen and participated in the design and translation into Greek of various computerized cognitive tests. He is a PhD candidate in a joint program at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Network Aging Research at the University of Heidelberg, with a scholarship from the Robert Bosch Foundation Stuttgart. His PhD project focuses on the use of longitudinal performance data on a self-administered serious game to detect mild cognitive impairment.

The Development of a Health Impact Assessment Framework for the Philippines

• Beverly Ho, Manila Philippines: Beverly is Health Research Division Chief at the Philippines Department of Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau. She works on providing the Department of Health with evidence needed to support health systems reforms to improve the health of Filipinos equitably and efficiently.

• Somporn Pengkam: Somporn is a Community Health Impact Assessment Practitioner based in Udon Thani, Thailand. She works with rights litigators and academics to facilitate community health impact assessment learning in Thailand and Myanmar.

About the Atlantic Fellows

There are currently almost 400 Atlantic Fellows from 61 countries and that number is expected to rise to almost 3000 over the next decade.

https://www.atlanticfellows.org

About the Atlantic Institute

The Atlantic Institute, based at Rhodes House, University of Oxford, supports the global network of Atlantic Fellows to learn and work across programs, borders and disciplines to advance fairer, healthier more inclusive societies. It supports a lifelong community of action among Atlantic Fellows by providing them with access to long-term resources, wider networks and opportunities to connect, learn and collaborate to tackle inequities.

https://www.atlanticfellows.org/atlantic-institute

About Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Philanthropies have committed over $660M, alongside other partner organizations and governments, to support the work of a global network of thousands of Atlantic Fellows over the next two decades, and beyond.

This investment – in both the Atlantic Fellows and the institutions that will support and nurture them – is the foundation’s biggest bet ever. It is the culmination of Atlantic’s long history of investing in people and in their vision, opportunity and ability to realize a better world.

https://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/

For more information about the Atlantic Senior Fellows Awards and Programs:

Visit:

https://atlanticfellows.org/news/2019/7/15/inaugural-atlantic-senior-fellow-awards

Contact:

Fionnuala Sweeney, Director of Communications, Atlantic Institute f.sweeney@atlanticfellows.org

For pictures of the winners: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1JCGP1CW5vB8i5NZoY5lEnUQpje6-R2Jh

Global Brain Health Institute Reaches Milestone, Sets Sights on Continued Impact for Brain Health

The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) reached a significant milestone June 24 when Atlantic Philanthropies finalized a gift to UC San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) to continue to address the global dementia epidemic.

“Over the past four years, GBHI has built the foundation for a global network of leaders to address the social and physical determinants of brain health,” said Christopher G. Oechsli, president and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies. “This groundbreaking community is actively changing the practices, narratives and policies that will improve the quality of our lives.”

In 2015, the Atlantic Philanthropies granted $177 million to UCSF and Trinity College Dublin to create the Global Brain Health Institute. The latest commitment of $107 million, based on GBHI reaching institutional milestones, fulfills the final portion of this award, now totaling $179 million. The financial backing reflects the ambitions of Atlantic and its founder, Charles “Chuck” Feeney, to advance fairer, healthier, and more inclusive societies.

Read more from UCSF and TCD news:

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2019/06/414786/global-brain-health-institute-reaches-milestone-sets-sights-continued-impact

https://www.tcd.ie/news_events/articles/gbhi-reaches-milestone-sets-sights-on-continued-impact-for-brain-health/

Brian Lawlor Presents a Dementia Policy Paper to the Chilean National Congress

GBHI Deputy Executive Director Brian Lawlor was invited to Santiago, Chile, June 19-21, 2019, as part of the presentation of a Policy Paper about the Chilean National Plan of Dementia.

By Andrea Slachevsky

The Chilean National Plan of Dementia started in 2017 and in 2018 has been implemented as a Pilot in three regions across the country. The policy paper is a multi-professional effort created by clinicals, academics and patients’ organizations to emphasize and create awareness in the Chilean policy makers and politicians about dementia, inviting them to put dementia as a relevant issue in the political scene. It proposes the need to keep supporting the National Plan and expand it nationwide.

Prof. Lawlor visited one of the three Chilean memory units in the Hospital del Salvador. He was able to experience first-hand the multidisciplinary work that is done there and share his valuable knowledge. He exalted the unit’s members to not just keep up the good work, but also to start evaluating the progress and creating evidence that could help to change the Chilean political mentality. He also noted the importance of the teaching role of the memory unit, generating more trainees in dementia (both medical and non-medical professionals), and helping to mitigate the gap of knowledge between experts and primary care.

Prof. Lawlor also participated in the launch of the policy paper, giving the main lecture of the morning to a crowded and multidisciplinary audience that included patients, caregivers, clinicians, academics, senators, government personalities, and even the Chilean ministry of health.

The wonderful talk of Prof. Lawlor emphasized the importance of hope and humanity in all the process of dementia care, from prevention, diagnosis, treatment and caregiver’s care. He also showed the significant role of GBHI in developing the generation of leaders in Brain Health worldwide, and shared the interest of GBHI to work with Chileans to create new leaders that could drive the change. The first two Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health at GBHI from Chile will start later this year, and perhaps many more to come.

Dr. Lawlor’s speech was greeted with a standing ovation and generated an immediate impact in the public and in dementia care in Chile. Just a few hours after the presentation of Prof. Lawlor, the Chilean Ministry of Health announced via the government website his intention to prioritize Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias in the agenda, trying to ensure access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment to every Chilean, no matter their socioeconomic status.

The visit of Brian Lawlor was cover by the University of Chile:

http://www.uchile.cl/noticias/154951/experto-en-demencias-conocio-el-trabajo-de-unidad-de-memoria

The impact of the policy paper was reported by several media report and the web page of

- Ministry of Health

https://www.minsal.cl/gobierno-evalua-nuevas-enfermedades-para-incorporar-en-el-auge/

- Government of Chile:

https://www.gob.cl/noticias/gobierno-evalua-nuevas-enfermedades-para-incorporar-en-el-auge/

Read the full report from Andrea Slachevsky here.

Dementia Awareness and Education

In a letter to the editor to the Colombian Neurological Association, Alejandra Guerrero highlights the urgent need to take action for dementia awareness and education. Here she shares an abbreviated, English-language version.

By Alejandra Guerrero , MD, Atlantic Fellow

As life expectancy increases, dementia prevalence grows every year. Its costs and burden are increasing worldwide, especially in low and middle-income countries, including Colombia, a country with a national dementia prevalence of 9.4%, according to the Survey on Health, Wellbeing, and Ageing in Colombia, SABE study. Research has shown there are lifestyle modifications that can reduce dementia prevalence by addressing risk factors such as low educational level, hypertension, obesity, hearing loss, smoking, depression, physical inactivity, loneliness, and diabetes.

Dementia diagnosis is usually surrounded by negativity, fear, and stigma—even in the health care community. These challenges result from a lack of knowledge about dementia treatment and prognosis. This lack of knowledge leaves dementia as a hopeless disease that is inevitable and inherent to aging and humanity, without treatment and with a bleak prognosis.

Since 2017, when the Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017– 2025 was adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been international concern about dementia awareness and education. One of the action areas of the plan is to create public awareness campaigns on dementia to increase knowledge and reduce stigma. These campaigns are essential to developing a dementia plan. They are the starting point to make dementia visible and to create the social movement that will lead the change in the narrative and the change in the public policies around dementia in each country.

Health care professionals have to take an active role and get involved locally or nationally in dementia awareness campaigns to increase knowledge, not just in the general public but also among health care professionals. We have to help to make dementia visible, showing that there is a way for its prevention and treatment. It is crucial to promote research in this field and to obtain information and data adjusted to each population. Education is the first step to empower people living with dementia and their families and thereby influence policymakers to create more inclusive and dementia friendly societies.