Dr. Trojanowski joins the ranks of other Penn Neuropathologists as the 2015 AANP Meritorious Award Recipient

JohnHeadshot_ForBlog
Congratulations to IOA Diretor, John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, on receiving the 2015 American Association of Neuropathologist (AANP) Meritorious Award.

The AANP Meritorious Award “recognizes a member who has made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in neuropathology and provided service to the American Association of Neuropathologists.” It acknowledges Dr. Trojanowski as “an experimental neuropathologist who has provided immense contributions to the study of neurodegenerative diseases.”

Dr. Trojanowski’s collaborative tendencies, including collaborations with pathologists, neurologists, basic scientists, and governmental, industry, and private foundations, have enabled an even broader and deeper world-wide impact.

“Dr. Trojanowski – John – embodies a spirit of excellence and passion about neuropathology, at a time when our field is thirsty for those things.”

 Aside from Dr. Trojanowski, several other neuropathologists have received this AANP award. Showcasing the impact of Penn Neuropathology, since 1999, four Penn Neuropathologists were awarded, which is more than any other institution.

Penn Awarded Neuropathologists:

  • 1999 – Lucy B. Rorke
  • 2009 – Nicholas K. Gonatas
  • 2011 – William W. Schlaepfer
  • 2015 – John Q. Trojanowski

For a full list of past awardees, click here.

Penn Memory Center Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2015

The 10th anniversary of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was internationally recognized on Monday, June 15th through events raising awareness about the public health significance of neglect and abuse of older persons. Jason Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 11.42.49 AMKarlawish, MD,
co-director of the Penn Memory Center
, attended the WEADD First Global Summit in Washington DC, where he was joined by other national and international leaders in elder abuse prevention. Dr. Karlawish presented on elder abuse as a public health challenge and the responsibility of public health professionals, in collaboration with banking and financial services organizations, to build a public health roadmap and infrastructure to protect the nation’s health and wealth.

Tigist Hailu, Coordinator for Diversity in Research and Education at the Penn Memory Center, attended an event titled “Healthy Mind, Healthy Wallet” at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. The event was organized by the Penn Memory Center and the new CDC-funded Penn Healthy Brain Research Center in partnership with Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s Protective Services for Older Adults, and other members of the Philadelphia Financial Exploitation Prevention Task Force. Topics presented related to protection against financial exploitation of older persons. “The fair was a great opportunity for members of First Corinthian Baptist Church and the West Philadelphia community to learn and ask questions about how to make good financial decisions as they age,” said Hailu.

Published by: Sara M. Hachey, Research Coordinator at the Penn Memory Center 


Last month, the IOA’s Sylvan M. Cohen Annual Retreat discussed a related topic focusing on Aging with Financial Security: Addressing the Challenges of Cognitive Aging. See the full recap blog here.

 

Behavioral Health in the Nursing Home: Building a Web One Thread at a Time

AnnKolanowskiFlyer_Opt2On Wednesday, April 29, IOA Visiting Scholar, Ann Marie Kolanowski, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, professor, Penn State School of Nursing, discussed her team’s research on improving behavioral health and testing non-pharmacological interventions in nursing homes.

Dr. Kolanowski explained that her work has helped to establish significant evidence for non-pharmacological approaches as the first line of treatment for behavioral issues in the elderly, especially since antipsychotic drugs have been linked to adverse effects and even increased mortality. Dr. Kolanowski’s approach relies heavily on understanding the patients interests and abilities and tailoring your approach accordingly. Intervention strategies included group and individual activities that met the needs of each specific patient. Based on this approach, Dr. Kolanowski found that the majority of patients experienced significant improvements in mood and behavior.

Dr. Kolanowski and her team have also developed the NursingHome Toolkit, an online resource with the goal of assisting nursing home staff in the implementation of these non-pharmacological strategies for the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. To view the Toolkit, visit: http://www.nursinghometoolkit.com

View the full lecture here.

Aging with Financial Security: Addressing the Challenges of Cognitive Aging and Impairment

Sylvan M. Cohen Annual Retreat 2015
On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the Institute on Aging hosted their Sylvan M. Cohen Annual Retreat. The event, which took place from 11:30am-5:00pm in the Smilow Center for Translational Research at the University of Pennsylvania, consisted of lunch, lectures, a reception and a poster session.

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Lectures
This year, the IOA welcomed several outside speakers, ranging from financial experts to medical professionals. Their presentations discussed a variety of topics on adult protective services, financial security, and financial exploitation and abuse in the aging community. For the full list of speakers and their presentations, download the event’s agenda here.

Reception and Poster Session
Immediately following the lectures, guests were welcomed back into the Smilow Center lobby for the event’s reception and poster session. The poster session, a popular feature of the retreat, invites University of Pennsylvania affiliates and colleagues from around the Philadelphia area to present their aging-related research, educational activities and services and compete for a “best poster” prize. First and second prize winners were chosen based on the following categories: Basic Science, Clinical Research, and Education and Community.

Basic Science – 1st Place:
St172udying Alpha-synuclein Misfolding through Forster Resonance Energy
Presented by
: John Ferrie
Authors: John Ferrie, Conor Haney, Rebecca Wissner, and E. James Petersson

 

 

Basic Science – 2nd Place:
173Prepubertal Adversity can Produce Resistance to Cognitive Decline and Associated White Matter Changes
Presented by
: Kathleen E. Morrison
Authors: Kathleen E. Morrison, Sneha Marasimhan, Tracy L. Bale

 

 

Clinical Research – 1st Place:
174Neuropsychological Functioning in the Acute and Remitted States of Late-life Depression
Presented by: Aaron M. Koenig
Authors: Aaron M. Koenig, Isaac J. DeLozier, Michelle D. Zmuda, Megan M. Marron, Amy E. Begley, Stewart J. Anderson, Charles F. Reynolds, Steven E. Arnold, James T. Becker, Meryl A. Butters

Clinical Research – 2nd Place:
175Evaluation of a Telephone Dementia Care Management Program for Caregivers of Community Dwelling Older Adults
Presented by
: Amy Benson
Authors: Shahrzad Mavandadi, Amy Benson, Kristen Foust, Suzanne DiFilippo, Joel Streim, David Oslin, Tom Snedden

 

Education & Community – 1st Place
176Silver Dollars: How a Senior Center is Helping Older Adults Avert Housing and Financial Crises
Presented by:
Megan C. McCoy, MSS, MLSP
Authors: Megan C. McCoy, MSS, MLSP

 

 

Education & Community – 2nd Place
177Age-friendly Banking: Policy, Products, and Services for Financial Capability
Presented by
: Karen Kali
Authors: Sehar N. Siddiqi, Robert O. Zdenek, Ed J. Gorman III

 

In light of the recent IOM report on cognitive aging, this year’s retreat was especially popular, bringing in nearly 160 attendees and receiving media coverage from the Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY.

Check out some footage from the event and hear from IOA Director, John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, as well as retreat attendees and poster presenters, including Clinical Research 2nd Prize winner, Amy Benson:

The 2015 Sylvan M. Cohen Annual Retreat was co-sponsored by the Penn ADCC Outreach, Recruitment, and Education Core, Penn Healthy Brain Research Network, Penn Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program, and the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy.

To view the full lectures from this event, click here.
To view more photos from the event, click here.
To view Dr. Jason Karlawish’s video interview on the recent IOM report on cognitive aging, click here.

Occupational Attainment in Frontotemporal Degeneration

According to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, doctors, lawyers and other “high level” professionals may have an advantage if diagnosed with Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD).

Lauren Massimo, PhD, CRNP, a post-doctoral fellow at Penn’s FTD Center, and her fellow researchers working on this study believe that these individuals with higher level occupations typically build stronger “cognitive reserve,” aiding in the defense of this neurodegenerative disease which effects behavior, personality, and in some cases, language.

Read more in the full Penn Medicine News Release.

To learn more about the Penn FTD Center, visit: http://ftd.med.upenn.edu

A Virtual Tour of the Penn Udall Center for Parkinson’s Research

The goals of the Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center of Excellence, which was launched at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007, are to shed light on the mechanisms of disease progression and alpha-synuclein transmission through collaborations between basic and translational research.

Throughout this virtual tour, you will visit the various researchers and clinicians who have dedicated their lives to fulfilling these goals. As you will see, their mission is to conduct multidisciplinary clinical, translational, and basic research that improves the understanding of and develops better treatments for patients with Parkinson’s disease. These ideas are the driving force behind each of the Cores and Projects listed below that will be highlighted in this tour:

Udall Cores:
Core A: Administrative Core
Core B: Clinical Core
Core D: Neuropathology, Biomarker, and Genetics Core
Core C: Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Data Management Core

Udall Projects:
Project I: A Multimodal Biomarker Approach to Evaluating and Predicting Cognitive Decline in Lewy Body Diseases
Project II: Mechanisms of PD Executive Dysfunction in Language
Project III: Mechanisms of Transmission of Pathological Alpha-synuclein in Neurons
Project IV: Immunotherapy Targeting PD Transmission in Animal Models

For more information on the Udall Center on Parkinson’s Research, visit: http://www.med.upenn.edu/udall

Promoting Cognitive Health in the 21st Century: A new IOM report recognizes the public health importance of cognitive aging

2015 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report on Cognitive Aging

The Institute of Medicine has release Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action, a report on the public health dimensions of cognitive aging.

The report, released on April 14, 2015, is timely. The U.S. population is rapidly aging and individuals are becoming more concerned about their cognitive health. Older adults view “staying sharp” as perhaps one of their most important health care goals.

Prepared by the Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging, the report assesses examined definitions and terminology, epidemiology and surveillance, prevention and intervention, education of health professionals, and public awareness and education.

Jason Karlawish, MD, associate director of the Penn Memory Center and director of the Penn Prevention Research Center’s Healthy Brain Research Center — a member of the CDC supported Healthy Brain Network dedicated to surveillance, education, awareness and empowerment the promotes brain health — was a member of the report committee.

“This report is a beginning,” Dr. Karlawish explained. “Over the last 30 years we have made a substantial progress in understanding the causes of neurodegeneration. Alzheimer’s disease has gone from a hidden disorder, to a front and center national concern. Now, we need to pay the same attention to cognitive aging.”

Cognitive aging is a process of gradual, ongoing, yet highly variable, changes in cognitive functions that occur as people get older. Age-related changes in cognition can affect not only memory but also decision-making, judgement, processing speed, and learning.

“Among our key findings was that both human and animal models show how in cognitive aging, neurons are not working as well, but they’re not dying.” Dr. Karlawish noted that this is important because “Synapses may be sick, but there’s a chance they can get well again.”

The report’s findings and recommendations address steps individuals, health care professionals, communities and society can take to promote cognitive health:

  • Increasing research and tools to improve the measurement of cognitive aging.
  • Promoting physical activity; reducing and managing cardiovascular disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking; and regularly discussing and reviewing with a health care professional the medications that might influence cognitive health.
  • Expanding public communications efforts around cognitive aging with clear messages that the brain ages, just like other parts of the body; cognitive aging is not a disease; cognitive aging is different for every individual (there is wide variability across persons of similar age); some cognitive functions improve with age, and neurons are not dying as in Alzheimer’s disease (hence, realistic hope is inherent in cognitive aging); and finally, there are steps that patients can take to protect their cognitive health.
  • Developing and improving financial programs and services used by older adults to help them avoid financial exploitation, optimize independence, and make sound financial decisions.
  • Health care systems and health care professionals should implement interventions to insure optimal cognitive health across the life cycle including programs to avoid delirium associated with medications or hospitalizations.
  • Determining the appropriate regulatory review, policies and guidelines for products advertised to consumers to improve cognitive health, particularly medications, nutritional supplements, and cognitive training.

The report, a slide set, and a four-page key point summary, are free and available for download at: www.iom.edu/cognitiveaging.

Published by: Barbara Overholser, Administrative Coordinator, Communication and Dissemination, Penn Memory Center

 

IOA’s 2015 Sylvan M. Cohen Annual Retreat

Retreat2015SaveTheDateforScreens“Aging with Financial Security: Addressing the Challenges of Cognitive  Aging & Impairment”

This year’s Institute on Aging Sylvan M. Cohen Annual Retreat will focus on some of the challenges of cognitive aging that are addressed in this new IOM report. Co-sponsored by the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy among others, the retreat will offer a line-up of lectures on a variety of topics related to cognitive aging and financial security for seniors.

For additional details on registration, poster submission, and the event’s full agenda, click here.