Visiting Lecture Series

Upcoming Presentations

Brayne

Population Studies and our Ageing Brains Today
Professor Carol Brayne | University of Cambridge | 28 April 2021 

This presentation will include a brief resume of research in older populations led from Cambridge that have informed current clinical understanding and policy regarding services and prevention for and of dementia, including across generations. These population studies have more recently been ‘re-purposed’ with enthusiasm from participants into a trial platform. The presentation will cover the major findings from the studies, reflections on their contribution to our general understanding of ageing and the brain, and adapting to both a trial and COVID follow-ups.

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Stern VLS

Update on Cognitive Reserve
Professor Yaakov Stern | Columbia University | 26 May 2021 

Professor Stern will give a brief history of the concepts underlying reserve, including brain reserve, cognitive reserve and brain maintenance. The research approaches to understanding the neural basis of these concepts will be discussed. He will describe the progress of a program designed to come to consensus on operational definitions for terms related to reserve and resilience among human and animal researchers. Professor Stern will also share some new data exploring the neural implementation of cognitive reserve.

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John O'Brien

Improving the Diagnosis and Management of Lewy Body dementia
Professor John O’Brien | University of Cambridge | 21 July 2021

Lewy body dementia, comprising both dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD), has an even worse outcome than other dementias in terms of functional decline, reduced quality of life and increased mortality. Despite revisions in diagnostic criteria and the availability of some diagnostic biomarkers, many cases remain misdiagnosed. There are some effective treatments for Lewy body dementia and its symptoms, but there is considerable heterogeneity in approaches to management. This lecture will update current thinking on how to improve both diagnosis and management, and describe results of a recent study which has developed new management guidelines to assist clinicians to optimise management of people who have  Lewy body dementia.

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Dilip Jeste

Wisdom, Ageing, and the Pandemics
Professor Dilip Jeste | University of California San Diego 
| 29 Septermber 2021 

Discussed in religions and philosophies for millennia, wisdom is a topic of growing empirical research since the 1970s. Wisdom is a complex personality trait with several specific components: empathy/compassion, emotional regulation, self-reflection, decisiveness amid uncertainty, and spirituality. Functional neuroimaging, neurochemical, neuropathological, and genetic studies point to a neurobiological basis for wisdom. Unlike IQ, components of wisdom are potentially modifiable and may increase with age and experience. Studies support a Grandmother Hypothesis of wisdom. Several randomized controlled trials of behavioral interventions have shown increases in emotional regulation, empathy/compassion, and spirituality with psychosocial interventions. In near future, neurobiological procedures such as targeted brain stimulation as well as neuro-psycho-tropic drugs may be developed to enhance components of wisdom. Technological innovations are also likely to shift artificial intelligence to artificial wisdom. Our studies have shown a strong inverse association between wisdom and loneliness. This suggests relevance of wisdom in the current era of behavioral pandemics of loneliness and associated suicides and opioid-related deaths. Enhancement of components of wisdom at individual and societal levels may help reduce loneliness-related mortality. Wisdom, through its association with well-being, happiness, and health is perhaps the best means of achieving successful ageing.

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Recent Presentations

Super Ageing and… Super-Duper Ageing

Professor Roddy Roediger | Washington University in St. Louis | 17 February 2021

Super ageing was originally defined as a condition of people over 80 (average, 83 years old) who performed as well as people 50 to 65 (average age of 61) on one memory test, the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT). Hearing about this phenomenon, and seeing the attention the concept aroused, reminded me of research that Mark McDaniel and I did in the mid-2000s when we had two grants to study false memories in older adults. In general, we showed that older adults show more errors in three false memories paradigms than do younger adults. However, in each case, a subgroup of older adults (the highest scorers on a battery of 5 tests purposed to measure frontal lobe functioning), show both veridical and false recall that is equal to that of younger adults in these same paradigms. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of following the standard in the literature and we called these “high frontal functioning older adults.” However, because we showed older adults (average age, 75) performed as well as college students (and presumably better than average 60 year olds), should we now label them super-duper agers?

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease in the Biomarker Era: Promises and Pitfalls

Professor Ron Petersen | Mayo Clinic | 9 December 2020

 

The landscape for making the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is changing. Formerly, the diagnosis of AD was a clinical-pathological process relying on a typical clinical presentation and confirmed at autopsy. With the advent of AD biomarkers, the situation has evolved. Now with AD imaging or fluid biomarkers, conclusions about an AD component can be inferred in life. However, this approach presents concerns. Does this mean that AD clinical research without biomarkers is invalid? What about pathological co-morbidities? This discussion will address these issues and attempt to look at the future of AD research and clinical practice.

Brain Vascular Function in Ageing and Cognitive Impairment

Professor Hanzhang Lu | Johns Hopkins University | 9 November 2020

Ageing results in profound changes in the brain’s blood supply, energy metabolism, and microvascular function. Cognitive impairment and dementia are associated with further detrimental changes. Professor Lu will present recent results on how brain physiology is altered in aging and cognitive impairment, using advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. Studies using both human and animal subjects will be presented. The relationship between brain physiology and cognitive function as well as Alzheimer’s pathological markers will be discussed.