Campus Alberta Neuroscience (CAN) and the Alberta Healthy Brain Aging and Dementia (HBAD) research community were proud to host the conference, which was held in Banff, Alberta from May 24-17, 2016. The conference was developed with the intention of having an elevated discussion around the latest in dementia research and to forge connections and partnerships for the provincial research community.
"Dementia is a global, national and local issue," said Grant McIntyre, Executive Director of CAN. "The solutions to the problems presented by dementia will also be found and implemented globally, nationally, and locally. This conference allows the Alberta research community to increase connections with national and international work and perspectives."
With over 150 attendees, including researchers, physicians, policymakers, trainees and members of the community, from Alberta, Canada, and around the world, the conference offered a unique opportunity for sharing knowledge, connection, and contribution to important discussions in dementia research and care.
A celebration of HBAD neuroscientists and their relationship with the community
The conference led to excellent discussion on the latest developments across the spectrum of dementia research and translation. Over the four days of the conference, speakers explored a wide range of topics in dementia research, including:
- brain and cognitive resilience in aging
- vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia
- risk factors and novel diagnostics
- exercise and cognitive interventions for healthy brain aging and prevention of dementia
- applied research in dementia
Martin Prince of King's College London provided a global perspective on dementia issues, research, and prevention in his keynote address, Potential for brain health promotion and dementia prevention, on the conference's opening night.
Michele Mulder, Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories (AS AB/NT), said that, "AS AB/NT wants to develop increased engagement between researchers and those who suffer from dementia and their caregivers. This conference provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen our existing relationships with the research community and begin to build fruitful new ones."
The conference concluded with a keynote by Morris Moscovitch of the University of Toronto on Changing views of the contribution of the hippocampus to memory and to other cognitive functions, and a closing panel chaired by Robert Sutherland of the University of Lethbridge, engaging conference attendees in a discussion of big ideas and future directions for dementia research.
Strengthening existing relationships and building new ones
The conference provided considerable opportunities for networking and connection among Albertan, national, and international dementia researchers and stakeholders.
Several partner organizations are developing opportunities with CAN and other Alberta partners as a result of their engagement during the conference. This includes:
- AS AB/NT and CAN will increase engagement between the research community and those who suffer from dementia, and their caregivers
- The Alzheimer Society of Calgary and the Alberta Prion Research Institute have committed funding, brokered by CAN, to support a dementia research project led by a team of investigators from Alberta
- Alberta Health and the Senior's Health Strategic Clinical Network will use the discussions with researchers and policymakers to inform the next steps in the development and implementation of the provincial dementia research strategy
- The Ontario Brain Institute will identify collaboration opportunities for implementing physical activity targeted at preserving brain health into policy and practice
- Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration and Aging increased their engagement with Alberta researchers and will continue to build on their partnership with the HBAD group