Dementia Matters

About the Host

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Dr. Nathaniel Chin is host of Dementia Matters. He is a geriatrician, memory clinic doctor, and director of medical services for the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. His father's diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer’s disease inspired him to pursue a career as a geriatrician and scientist focused on dementia prevention, especially in regard to Alzheimer's disease.

Dementia Matters is brought to you by the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Our podcast is here to help humanize Alzheimer’s disease, by speaking with the experts in our community to keep you informed on the latest headlines, research studies, and caregiver resources. Our host is Dr. Nathaniel Chin, an assistant professor of medicine, geriatrics and gerontology, at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

You can listen to episodes through our website, or subscribe to Dementia Matters through iTunes, Spotify, Podbean, Stitcher, or Google Play Music.

Contact Us

Email your questions and episode suggestions to dementiamatters@medicine.wisc.edu.

Editor: Bashir Aden

Producer: Rebecca Wasieleski

Recent Episodes

Dr. J. Neil Henderson is an expert on diabetes and dementia, as well as creating culturally specific caregiver training programs for people who care for American Indian elders. Dr. Henderson, who is Oklahoma Choctaw, discusses cultural influences on caregiving and his work in improving brain health among American Indians and rural populations. Guest: J. Neil Henderson, PhD, professor, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Duluth campus; executive director, Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team on Health Disparities

Show Notes:

  • Trainable caregiving skills: 1:07

  • Impact of culture on caregiving: 6:29

  • American Indian and rural health disparities in memory: 10:35

 

People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before the age of 65 are said to have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. While this diagnosis is rare, the condition is very serious for the patient and their loved ones. Our guest helps define the disease and its symptoms, walks listeners through a diagnosis, and points to unique considerations for patients and their caregivers. Guest: Susanne Seeger, MD, associate professor (clinical) of neurology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health 

Key Moments:

  • Defining early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms: 0:58
  • Differentiating vascular and frontotemporal dementia from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease: 7:19
  • Most common memory and thinking complaints: 9:27
  • Diagnosing early-onset Alzheimer’s disease: 11:15
  • Issues people face after an early-onset Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis: 12:50
  • Where to go for help after a diagnosis: 14:35
  • Genetic considerations for patients and family members: 19:36

A common concern for families and dementia caregivers is when to start talking about palliative care and hospice with and for their loved ones with dementia. Our guest, Dr. Kate Schueller, recommends these conversations happen soon after a diagnosis, when the dementia patient can still be involved in planning their care. This episode talks about the difference between palliative care and hospice, the right time to initiative services, and other considerations for patients, families, and caregivers. Guest: Dr. Kate Schueller, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Key Moments:

  • The difference between palliative care and hospice: 0:50
  • How palliative care helps dementia: 4:49
  • Further steps for families: 10:17
  • What palliative care and hospice offer for grief: 16:07

To many people, exercise can seem like an uncertain and intimidating new world. The confusing marketing around it can make it hard to find a healthy, sustainable exercise plan. But it's important for people to fit movement into their lives because a growing body of research is showing the positive effects that physical activity can have on your brain. Our guests Sarah Lose and Max Gaitan, research specialists and exercise physiologists, discuss building cognitive resilience, defining physical activity, and researching exercise and its links with brain health. Guests: Sarah Lose, Max Gaitan, Research Specialists and Exercise Physiologists, Okonkwo Lab, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Overall, what our lab has found, is that physical activity and fitness can diminish or dampen both the effects of age and a genetic risk, or predisposition, to developing Alzheimer's disease." - Sarah Lose (9:57)

Key Moments:

  • Clarifying the terms in exercise research: 1:21
  • Defining and understanding cognitive resilience: 4:29
  • Can physical activity help memory? 7:20
  • The future for exercise research: 12:22
  • Tips on exercise and staying healthy: 15:54

 

Inflammation is a common response throughout the body that fights injury and infection and works to rebuild cells after damage. Inflammation works the same way in the brain, but sometimes the inflammatory response meets damage it can’t manage and becomes dysregulated. Our guest Dr. Linda Van Eldik discusses her research into the connections between neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, and how this research can help inform the medical community about drug-based treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.  Guest: Dr. Linda Van Eldik, Director, Sanders-Brown Center on Aging

In the advancing field of dementia research, the rise in genetic and biomarker testing for Alzheimer’s disease creates a need for conversations around how to disclose disease risk to research participants who may be years away from experiencing the symptoms of the disease. Guest Dr. Shana Stites discusses her research that examines public perception of the disease, associated stigma and discrimination, and how the research and medical communities can support people who learn about their Alzheimer’s disease risk profile. Guest: Shana D. Stites, PsyD, MS, Penn Memory Center, University of Pennsylvania Health System

Falls are the leading injury related cause of emergency room visits, and people with dementia experience falls at about twice the rate of other older adults. But falls are not an inevitable part of aging, and balance and strength training have been proven to reduce fall risk. Our guest joins us to talk about fall risk in older adults and steps patients and caregivers can take to help reduce falls. Guest: Barbara Fischer, PhD, neuropsychologist at the Milo C. Huempfner VA Heath Care Clinic

Alzheimer’s disease researchers are developing new techniques for identifying the disease much earlier than was possible in the past. This requires patients, families, and the medical community to talk about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in different ways. Our guest Dr. Jason Karlawish joins us to discuss the evolving definitions of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as the ethical and social issues people with dementia face. Guest: Dr. Jason Karlawish, Penn Memory Center, Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania

A visit to the Emergency Department can be stressful and disorienting for a person with dementia, and oftentimes unnecessary. Dr. Manish Shah discusses his research into programs that reduce Emergency Room visits for dementia patients. Guest: Dr. Manish Shah, professor at UW School of Medicine and Public Health and Co-Leader of the Care Research Core at the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

Dr. Chin talks with our guest about safety tips for aging drivers, caregiver considerations, and information on classes offered through AARP's Driver Safety Program. Guest: Neil McCallum, Wisconsin State Coordinator of AARP’s Driver Safety Program

Learn how to increase positivity, nurture mindfullness, and combat loneliness to improve overall health and wellness. Guest: Dr. Shilagh A. Mirgain, PhD, Distinguished Psychologist with the University of Wisconsin Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation/UW Health

Missteps with money management is an early warning sign of dementia, and aging customers are often targets of financial scams and abuse. This week's guest spearheaded dementia friendly training across all branches of the bank she works for in hopes of supporting and protecting aging customers. In this podcast episode, learn about River Valley Bank's Dementia Friendly program, the type of training employees completed, and how bank customers and communities reacted to the initiative. Guest: Rhonda Lewis, River Valley Bank

Our guest discusses a wide range of pharmacological topics of interest to the aging adult and caregivers, from medication reconciliation to sleep aids to addressing how some drugs affect memory and thinking skills. Guest: Robert Breslow, pharmacist, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy

Former Badger Men’s Hockey announcer and “The Golf Affect Radio Show” host Paul Braun was a caregiver for his late wife, Karen, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Paul’s experiences motivated him to become an advocate for people with Alzheimer’s disease and raise awareness and money for research and caregiver support. Paul was instrumental in developing the American Family Insurance Championship golf tournament Birdies for Health campaign, which raises money for five health causes at UW Health. Guest: Paul Braun, radio and sports broadcasting personality

 

Dr. Carl Hill joins the podcast to discuss research taking place around the country that works to improve health care and access for elders in diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Guest: Carl Hill, PhD, MPH, Director, Office of Special Populations, National Institute on Aging

Dr. Barbara Bowers is an expert on improving care for older adults and people with dementia. Her work focuses on improving work life quality for formal caregivers, and developing tools to guide and support informal caregivers. Guest: Barbara Bowers, PhD, RN, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing

Our guest is Dr. Tia Powell, author of the new book Dementia Reimagined: Building a Life of Joy and Dignity from Beginning to End. Dr. Powell wants more people to live safe and happy after a diagnosis of dementia, and encourages them and their caregivers to focus on living, instead of dying, throughout the course of the disease. Dr. Powell discusses proactive preparation, planning for physical and financial safety, and learning how to incorporate joy into a changing life. Guest: Tia Powell, PhD, director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics and professor of epidemiology and psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York

Synapses are points in the brain where two brain cells connect and communicate. Dr. Barbara Bendlin discusses her new research into synaptic change, its relationship to memory loss, and how her first-in-the-field research might one day lead to a new tool for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Guest: Barbara Bendlin, PhD, Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

Dr. Rachel Whitmer details how social determinants of health can lead to an elevated risk for dementia and shares what she has learned about modifiable risk factors and how they affect brain health. Guest: Dr. Rachel Whitmer, PhD, UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences and Chief of the Division of Epidemiology

 

This week, we speak with Dr. Shahriar Salamat and Mr. Jay Fruehling to discuss brain donation research and how it helps give the most accurate diagnoses. Guests: Dr. Shahriar Salamat, professor in the Department of Pathology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Mr. Jay Fruehling, Wisconsin Brain Bank Program Manager and community educator on brain donations at the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

This week, we continue our conversation with Dr. Art Walaszek discussing the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). In this episode, he speaks about hallucinations and delusions and what caregivers can do to help. Guest: Dr. Art Walaszek, Geriatric Psychiatrist, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Dr. Art Walaszek joins us for a two-part series discussing the mental health and behavioral changes family members and caregivers may see in people with dementia. In this first part, he delves into the relationship between depression and dementia, as well as tips and advice for caregivers. Guest: Dr. Art Walaszek, Geriatric Psychiatrist, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, but who and when it strikes is unpredictable. Recent research can help us understand how brain changes, genetics, gender, and environment and lifestyle factors affect risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Guest: Elizabeth Mormino, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Stanford University.

On this week’s episode, Dr. Kimberly Mueller helps explain connected language and how studying conversations can help detect early signs of cognitive impairment. Guest: Dr. Kimberly Mueller, Assistant Professor Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The holidays are a joyous time for many, however it can be quite stressful to caregivers of a person with dementia. Geriatrician Dr. Alexis Eastman discusses the most important tips and safety precautions for dementia caregivers this holiday season.

Guest: Dr. Alexis Eastman, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health