Living Long and Living Well: Changing Prospects for Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease and Late Life Dementias, 2014
Alzheimer's disease and late life dementias have gained tremendous attention in the past 30-40 years. As more and more persons have aged into late life, awareness has increased and there have been many changes in our understanding of brain aging and aging in general. Aging is complex, in part because of the increasing variability in how people age and especially the multiple conditions which occur commonly in old age. There is demographic evidence that senescence is being postponed, even though overall the numbers of people entering the age of frailty and dependence is increasing. Likewise, even though the absolute numbers of persons with Alzheimer's' disease and Late in life dementias are increasing overall in the population, recent research suggests that there may already be some postponement of the onset of the disease based on decreases in incidence and prevalence rates, which suggests prevention may already be occurring. Most importantly, research advances leading to better understanding of brain aging, Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative processes support an optimistic view of the prospects for prevention of these dreaded conditions. The demographic bulge known as the Baby Boomers has the potential to change the next epoch of their generation - aging, especially given that more and more will live into late life ages of 85 and beyond. This seminar will review prospects for prevention of Alzheimer's disease and other late life dementias. Our vision is that the reward for living a long life need not be prolonged periods of living with dementia and dependency, a state people dread, but rather preservation of brain function and well-being even into very old age.