The future of Alzheimer’s
By: Steven Chen
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, a public talk was held at McMaster Innovation Park addressing the latest findings in Alzheimer’s research. The talk, called “The Science of Alzheimer’s: Where Are We Going,” was directed as part of McMaster’s Optimal Aging Event Series.
The Optimal Aging Event Series is a program initiated by the McMaster Health Forum and focuses on sharing the insights of experts in the scientific community with the intent of promoting better provision of service and care for the aging population. One the key themes of the program is to ensure that the aging population remains healthy, active and engaged in society.
The talk featured Jay Ingram, a renowned Canadian broadcaster and author, known for hosting the CBC Radio program Quirks and Quarks and the television show Daily Planet.
“I’m interested in all aspects of Alzheimer’s, from the personal to the scientific. The audience that McMaster serves is one that likely already has a personal connection to Alzheimer’s but might not be familiar with the science. It may be important to know something of the disease with which you’re dealing,” said Ingram.
His keynote talk brought out central ideas from his newly published book, The End of Memory: A Natural History of Aging and Alzheimer’s. In it, he combines a historical perspective with practical details of leading research on the disease. “I set out to answer what I believe are the three questions everyone has about Alzheimer’s,” said Ingram. “These are: Am I going to get it? What can I do to mitigate my risk? And if all else fails and I do get it, what is in store for me?”
The event also featured Dr. Christopher Patterson, who contributed additional content with regards to the state of Alzheimer’s research. “In recent years there has been a surge in investment into Alzheimer’s disease,” said Patterson. “Unfortunately, many trials of promising medications have been unsuccessful, but more and more is being learned about the genetics and biochemistry of Alzheimer’s, together with new knowledge about risk factors and ways to delay or even prevent the disease.”
Considering the prevalence of Alzheimer’s in our aging society, it is hardly surprising that raising awareness is absolutely critical. With around 700,000 Alzheimer patients in Canada at present and a projected increase of 100 percent in the next fifteen years, the statistics themselves underline the scale of this issue.
“[Our healthcare system] is already strained to provide proper care for patients, and there are no new drugs on the verge of becoming part of the treatment regimen,” said Ingram. “There needs to be changes to [the research] and national policy of the disease.”
Additional information on “The Science of Alzheimer’s: Where Are We Going,” and upcoming events may be found on the project’s website.
Photo Credit: McMaster Health Forum