“To sleep, per chance to age… and avoid Alzheimer’s disease”: A recap of the 2016 Sylvan M. Cohen Annual Retreat

On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, the Institute on Aging hosted its annual Sylvan M. Cohen Retreat and Poster Session. This year’s retreat, titled “To sleep, per chance to age… and avoid Alzheimer’s disease,” was co-sponsored by Penn’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology and explored the effects of sleep loss and it’s possible link to Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions.

corrected_DJquoteAs usual, the event began with lunch and a series of lectures, but this year we had the pleasure of having J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM), join us for opening remarks.

He expressed his excitement to see such collaboration amongst the two sponsoring centers and encouraged more of this, not only in the PSOM, but also across the University as a whole. “One of the secrets at Penn Medicine is that we have these catalytic centers and institutes and it’s even more impressive that there is often cross fertilization between them,” explained Dean Jameson.

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Keynote speaker, David M. Holtzman, MD, professor and chairman, Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine, kicked off the lectures by discussing his research in “Understanding the Relationships between Sleep, Protein Aggregation, and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Other topics, covered by our Penn Presenters, included (click for video interviews):

Immediately following the lectures, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and beyond presented their current aging-related work at our annual Poster Session. Categories included basic science, clinical research, & education and community and awards were given to the top posters.

Poster Winners

BASIC SCIENCE

1st Place
BasicSciecne1Enhancing a WNT-telomere feedback loop restores intestinal stem cell function in a human organotypic model of dyskeratosis congenita
Presenter: Dong-Hun Woo
Authors: Dong-Hun Woo, Qijun Chen, Ting-Lin B. Yang, M. Rebecca Glineburg, Carla Hoge, Nicolae A. Leu, F. Brad Johnson, and Christopher J. Lengner

 

2nd Place
BasicSciecne2AB Plaques Mediate Neuritic Plaque-like Tau Pathology that is Distinct from Perikaryal Tau Inclusions
Presenters: Zhuohao He
Authors: Zhuohao He, Jing L. Guo, Jennifer D. McBride, Lakshmi Changolkar, Bin Zhang, Ronald J. Gathagan, Hyesung Kim, Sneha Narasimhan, Kurt R. Brunden, John Q. Trojanowski, Virginia M.-Y. Lee


CLINICAL RESEARCH and EDUCATION & COMMUNITY *

1st Place
ClinRes1Tau Pathology Influences Dementia Onset and Survival in Lewy Body Spectrum Disorders
Presenter: David Irwin
Authors: David J. Irwin, MD MSTR, Murray Grossman MD, Daniel Weintraub MD, Howard I. Hurtig MD, John E. Duda MD, Sharon X. Xie PhD, Edward B. Lee MD PhD, Vivianna M. Van Deerlin MD, PhD,Oscar L. Lopez MD, Julia K. Kofler MD, Peter T. Nelson, MD PhD, Randy Woltjer MD PhD, Joseph F. Quinn MD, Jeffery Kaye MD, James B Leverenz MD, Debby Tsuang MD, MSc, Katelan Longfellow MD, Dora Yearout BS, Walter Kukull PhD, C. Dirk Keene MD, PhD, Thomas J. Montine MD, PhD, Cyrus P. Zabetian MD MS, John Q. Trojanowski MD PhD

2nd Place
ClinRes2Clinical Profile of Older Adults with Mild or No Cognitive Impairment Who Receive Prescriptions for Cholinesterase Inhibitors and/or Memantine: A descriptive study from the PACE/PACENET BHL Caregiver Resources, Education and Support (CREST) Program
Presenter: Romika Dhar, MD
Authors: Romika Dhar, MD; Amy Benson, MSEd; Joel E. Streim, MD; David W. Oslin, MD

* Due to the number of posters submitted, the categories for Clinical Research and Education & Community were combined.

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To view some of the full lectures from our retreat, click here.
* Please note: Some of the lectures are not available to view due to unpublished data being presented *

View more photos from our 2016 Sylvan M. Cohen Retreat Facebook album here.

PA Senator Pat Toomey Convenes Hearing on Alzheimer’s Disease

On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Pennsylvania State Senator Pat Toomey led a Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing to address the difficult challenges of patients, family members, and the Medicare program caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Senator Toomey urged the subcommittee to review four key areas – improving accurate diagnosis, support for caregivers, encouraging long-term care financial planning, and most of all, the need for a cure.

“Alzheimer’s is in a category of its own in terms of its breadth, lethality, and the severity of the disease. We estimate 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer’s. It’s 100 percent fatal,” he explained in his opening remarks, also stating:

“The NIH budget is about $32 billion per year. Alzheimer’s research receives less than three percent of the funding. The fact is there are other non-fatal and treatable diseases that receive far more resources in their research. I think we need to increase our Alzheimer’s research, and we need to do it in a fiscally responsible way.”

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Pictured: Sen. Toomey (left) with John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, Director, IOA, Co-director, CNDR, and Kurt Brunden, Director of Drug Discovery at CNDR

In 2014, Senator Toomey visited the University of Pennsylvania for a tour of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), a center dedicated to promoting and conducting multidisciplinary clinical and basic research on the causes and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), and more.

For Senator Toomey, Alzheimer’s is not just an important public health concern. With a father who is currently battling Alzheimer’s and a grandmother who lost her life to the disease, it is personal as well. Senator Toomey is an avid Alzheimer’s advocate and has met with caregivers across Pennsylvania hearing their stories and sharing his own with the goal working together to end this debilitating condition. He serves as Co-Chair on the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and continues to stress the need to increased research funding.

 

Advancing the Health of An Aging Population: Groundbreaking research supported by the NIA

On Thursday, June 30, 2016, the Institute on Aging (IOA), in collaboration with Friends of the National Institute on Aging (FoNIA), hosted an educational briefing on “Advancing the health of an aging population: Groundbreaking research supported by the NIA.”

The briefing, which took place at the Capitol Visitor’s Center in Washington, D.C., is an annual FoNIA event bringing together researchers, legislators, advocates, and others to hear about the latest updates in the field of aging research. This year’s presenters included NIA director, Richard Hodes, MD, and deputy director, Marie A. Bernard, MD, Corey T. McMillan, PhD, research assistant professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Peter M. Abadir, MD, assistant professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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“We were delighted to see a standing room only crowd at our annual Friends of the NIA educational briefing on the Hill,” said Kathryn Jedrziewski, PhD, director of the IOA and chair of FoNIA. “It was gratifying to hear about so much progress being made in aging-related research, especially in the area of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders.”

Presentations:

FoNIA is a broad-based coalition of aging, disease, research, and patient groups that supports the mission of the NIA.

Legendary Women’s Basketball Coach and Alzheimer’s Advocate, Pat Summitt, passes away after 5-year battle with dementia.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 10.00.08 AMPat Summitt is most commonly known as a legendary basketball leader—winning more games than any other coach in the history of college basketball—but she was also a leader in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Shortly after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2011 at the age of 59, Summitt and her son Tyler founded the Pat Summit Foundation. Their goal was to “help find a cure for Alzheimer’s so that one day no family has to hear that a loved one has been diagnosed with [the] disease.”

The foundation awards grants to organizations that conduct research to treat, prevent, and ultimately cure AD, and/or provides education and awareness of the disease, it’s onset, and treatment, or services to support patients, their families and caregivers.

Today, on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, after five years of fighting Alzheimer’s disease head-on, Pat Summitt has passed away.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 12.16.15 PM“The loss of Pat Summit to dementia of the Alzheimer type reminds us that younger individuals at the peak of their careers, and not just older retirees, are vulnerable to succumb to Alzheimer type dementia, which likely began to damage her brain 10 or more years before she became symptomatic,” said John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, director of Penn’s Institute on Aging.

“Despite stepping down as Tennessee’s legendary basketball coach in 2012, a year after announcing her diagnosis, she continued to be engaged with her team which illustrates that patients living with dementia can continue to lead a meaningful and active life.”

To learn more about early-onset dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Association.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s research and care here at Penn, visit:

Penn Medicine Researchers and Collaborators Receive Nearly $11 Million NIH Grant to Launch a New Genomics Center on Alzheimer’s disease

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.36.40 PMPenn Medicine’s Gerard D. Schellenberg, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Li-San Wang, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, along with investigators from Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, the University of Miami, and the University of Indiana have been awarded a $10.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to launch their joint Coordinating Center for Genetics and Genomics of Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is an exciting opportunity to apply new technologies to improve our understanding of the biological pathways underlying this devastating disease,” said Dr. Schellenberg, quoted in a Penn Medicine News Release. “The new center will stimulate collaborations between hundreds of U.S. and international Alzheimer’s genetics researchers by aggregating and analyzing very large data sets and sharing the results. This type of global interaction is needed if we are to make progress in solving this devastating illness.”

Drs. Schellenberg and Wang are no strangers to the genetics and genomics of Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases. This new grant is just one of the projects in their recently introduced Penn Neurodegeneration Genomics Center (PNGC) which they co-direct. Other projects include the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC), Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP), Consortium for Alzheimer’s Sequence Analysis (CASA), and NIA Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease Data Storage Site (NIAGADS).

Read more:
Full Penn Medicine News Release
Feature in the Philadelphia Business Journal

 

CNDR Director, Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD receives $7.5 Million NIH Renewal Grant for Frontotemporal Dementia Research

Virginia M.-Y. Lee, PhD, MBA, professor in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) at the University of Pennsylvania, has received a $7.5 Million, five-year renewal on her multidisciplinary Program Project Grant (PPG) on Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 11.57.50 AMAs explained in a recent Penn Medicine News Release, “the major goal of the Lee-led grant, which comprises years 16 to 20 of an ongoing series of clinical investigations, is to expand a Penn-based comprehensive research program studying the origins and progression of frontotemporal dementia.”

To learn more about Dr. Lee’s FTD PPG, view our Virtual Tour here:

 

Read the full Penn Medicine News Release here.

 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2016

WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY (WEAAD)

WEADD-Logo-RGBToday, June 15, 2016, organizations around the world are joining in the mutual effort to promote a better understanding of elder abuse and neglect of seniors “by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect,” according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).

Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation and experts believe that for every case reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported, explains NCEA.

By spreading awareness and increasing knowledge on elder abuse, you can help stop this vicious cycle. NCEA created a variety of guides, outreach tools, and fact sheets to share, including:

SUPPORT FOR SENIORS IN PHILADELPHIA

Locally, organizations in and around the Philadelphia area are doing their part to support the wellbeing of our aging community.

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) Older Adult Protective Services

“In Philadelphia, all forms of elder abuse can be reported to PCA’s Older Adult Protective Services 24/7 by calling the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040. In fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015), PCA’s Older Adult Protective Services received 3,262 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of older adults.”

Learn more at PCAcares.org

CARIE: Center for Advocacy for the Rights & Interests of the Elderly

CARIE’s mission is to “improve the well being, rights, and autonomy of older persons through advocacy, education, and action.” They offer a variety of resources including the “CARIE LINE” and “CARIE OnLINE” telephone and online consultation service, victim’s advocacy programs, transportation problems resolution, and help for people in nursing homes and personal care homes, to name a few.

Learn more at: www.carie.org

The Ralston Center’s Age Friendly West Philadelphia Initiative

“Ralston’s Age-Friendly West Philadelphia Initiative is a collaborative partnership of local and citywide stakeholders, convened and facilitated by Ralston Center, to create age-friendly changes in West Philadelphia.  The initiative is committed to making the physical and social environments in West Philadelphia more conducive to older adults’ health, well-being and ability to age in place.”

Learn more at: http://ralstoncenter.org/