“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.

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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.