Does lifespan extension equate to healthspan extension? ft. Brian K. Kennedy, PhD

On Thursday, January 15, 2015, Brian K. Kennedy, PhD visited Penn’s Institute on Aging to discuss his work in aging research. Dr. Kennedy, President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, presented a lecture on “Drugs that Forestall Aging – Extending Healthspan.” His most recent work, which you can learn more about in the video interview below, is based around studying the “TOR pathway,” or the target of rapamycin, and this drug’s recently discovered ability to extend lifespan in mice. One of Dr. Kennedy’s goals is to determine whether pathways like TOR can be regulated to treat aging-related diseases, specifically focusing on cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome like type II diabetes.

Find more information on Dr. Kennedy and his research here and in the video below.




Tom Montine, MD, PhD visits Penn to discuss “Precision Medicine for the Molecular and Clinical Complexity of Dementia”

MONTINEcircleLast Thursday, January 8, 2015, the Institute on Aging (IOA) hosted our first Visiting Scholars Series event of the new year. Tom Montine, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology, University of Washington, presented his lecture on “Precision Medicine for the Molecular and Clinical Complexity of Dementia.”

Dr. Montine is no stranger to Penn. He directs both the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) and the Pacific Northwest Udall Parkinson’s Disease Center at the University of Washington and has been a long time collaborator with the related centers here as well. He has worked extensively with many Penn researchers especially John Trojanowski, MD, PhD, Director, Penn’s Institute on Aging, Penn’s Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center (ADCC), and Penn’s Udall Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research, Virginia, M.-Y. Lee, PhD, MBA, Director, Penn’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Gerry Schellenberg, PhD, Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Penn ADCC collaborator via Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium, and Li-San Wang, PhD, Associate Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Penn ADCC collaborate via National Institute of Aging Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease Data Storage Site (NIAGADS), just to name a few.

His work with Drs. Schellenberg and Wang focuses mainly on molecular drivers in disease and genetic risk related to endophenotypes in Alzheimer’s disease as well as using pathologic data instead of simply clinical diagnosis.

View a list of the IOA’s upcoming Visiting Scholars Series lectures here.

Penn Medicine’s Howard Hurtig, MD Discusses Recognizing the Differences of Alzheimer’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia in his recent PsychCentral Feature

A recent PsychCentral article featuring Penn Medicine’s Howard Hurtig, MD, Chair, Department ofNeurology, Pennsylvania Hospital and Clinical Core Leader of Penn’s Udall Center for Parkinson’s Disease Research, discusses the importance of differentiating between the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and its lesser-known cousin, Lewy Body Dementia (LBD).

lbdaNot only does the general public know less about LBD, but physicians also often misdiagnose it as Alzheimer’s disease. While both are indeed neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging, the difference is the LBD affects the areas of the brain that are responsible for behavior, memory, movement, and personality, while Alzheimer’s primarily affects the areas of the brain that control learning and memory. However, that is not the only difference between the two diseases.

According to PsychCentral’s quote from Dr. Hurtig, “while symptoms of LBD may be similar to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, the treatment strategy is more challenging because fewer medications can be used safely.” Because some drugs that are prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease can be very harmful to those with LBD, Hurtig stressed that one of the most important things in recognizing the difference between these diagnoses is to ensure the patient is avoiding all medications that may worsen symptoms.

The full article is available here.

Image courtesy of Lewy Body Dementia Association via PsychCentral.

Highlights from the 1st Annual Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Forum

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 2.36.43 PMThe first Annual Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Forum was held last year on September 24, 2014 following Governor Corbett’s acceptance of the Pennsylvania State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders. Over 150 participants, including government officials, Alzheimer’s Association chapters, other advocacy groups, and leading academic researchers, joined together in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the event.

The forum, which consisted of a keynote lecture by this year’s speaker, Dr. Randi Chapman, Director of State Affairs for the National Alzheimer’s Association, and several other breakout sessions, was built as a way to not only evaluate the progress of the State Plan and to discuss the next steps, but also to enhance partnerships and community support surrounding it.

View the official summary of the forum, including the seven (7) recommendations featured in the State Plan, here.