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Dementia Matters

About the Host

doctor nathaniel chin

Dr. Nathaniel Chin is host of Dementia Matters. He is a geriatrician, memory clinic doctor, and medical director 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 a podcast about Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia. Host Dr. Nathaniel Chin interviews leading scientists and caregiving experts to bring listeners the latest in Alzheimer's disease news, research and caregiver resources.

Three Ways to Listen

You can listen to episodes through our website or subscribe to Dementia Matters through ApplePodcasts, Spotify, Podbean or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear Dementia Matters on Fridays at 4 p.m. (CT) and again at 10 p.m. (CT) during the "Science Friday" segment on WMUU Radio, 102.9 FM in Madison, and streaming online.

Contact Us

Email your questions and episode suggestions to
Audio Editor: Caoilfhinn Rauwerdink
Producer: Amy Lambright Murphy

Recent Episodes

Photo of Dr. Walter Kukull
Walter Kukull, PhD

Dementia Matters Special Series: The National Strategy for Alzheimer's Disease Data and Research Part 1

Kicking off our six-episode series on the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center and their Spring 2022 ADRC meeting, Dr. Walter Kukull joins the podcast. He explains what NACC is, what they do with the data they collect from the 42+ Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers, the center’s biannual ADRC meetings and what he’s most excited about for the next five years of Alzheimer’s disease research.

Guest: Walter Kukull, PhD, director, National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center, professor, University of Washington department of epidemiology

Photo of podcast guest Astrid Suchy, Dicey, PhD
Astrid Suchy-Dicey, PhD

Astrid Suchy-Dicey, PhD, discusses her study that found the APOE e4 gene is not linked to neurodegeneration for all races and ethnic groups, specifically for American Indian populations.

Guest: Astrid Suchy-Dicey, PhD, epidemiologist, assistant research professor, Washington State University, Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH)

Photo of podcast guest Josh Grill, PhD
Josh Grill, PhD

Research participants are recruited through a variety of practices. One of the most popular tools are registries, but how can registries affect diversity and representation within research? Josh Grill joins the podcast to discuss his work studying research registries, their effects on representation for disadvantaged communities, and how research recruitment and outreach can be improved going forward.

Guest: Josh Grill, PhD, director, Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, associate professor, University of California, Irvine

Photo of Dr. Percy Griffin of the Alzheimer's Association
Percy Griffin, PhD

AAIC Special Series Part 8

Closing out our special series spotlighting the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, Dr. Percy Griffin joins the podcast to discuss highlights from this year’s event.

Guest: Percy Griffin, PhD, director, scientific engagement, Alzheimer’s Association

Heather Snyder
Heather Snyder, PhD

AAIC Special Series Part 7

Recent studies have shown that 1 in 5 U.S. adults who were diagnosed with COVID-19 now deal with Long COVID, a condition where individuals report fatigue, cognitive issues, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms lasting at least three months after infection. With these reported effects on cognition and brain health, what else do we know about COVID’s impact on the brain? Dr. Heather Snyder joins us to talk about what we know about COVID-19’s effects on the brain and her upcoming scientific session at AAIC 2022.

Guest: Heather Snyder, PhD, vice president, medical & scientific relations, Alzheimer’s Association

A portrait photo of Dr. Krista Lanctôt
Krista Lanctôt, PhD

AAIC Special Series Part 6

Dr. Krista Lanctôt joins the podcast to discuss apathy, how it develops in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and her upcoming AAIC 2022 plenary talk.

Guest: Krista Lanctôt, PhD, senior scientist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, full professor, University of Toronto

Carl Hill
Carl Hill, PhD, MPH

AAIC Special Series Part 5

Bringing together scientists, clinicians, and research participants from all over the world, AAIC 2022 showcases the work and experiences of people from unique backgrounds and perspectives and highlights the importance of diversity in Alzheimer’s disease research. Dr. Carl Hill joins the podcast to discuss why diversity is important in scientific research and how AAIC 2022 supports efforts to make Alzheimer’s disease research more equitable and inclusive.

Guest: Carl Hill, PhD, MPH, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Alzheimer’s Association

Sharon Inouye, PhD
Sharon Inouye, PhD

AAIC Special Series Part 4

Research into delirium, a condition where older adults experience acute confusional states during hospitalizations, and its connections to dementia have led to numerous advancements in hospital care and treatments. Dr. Sharon Inouye joins the podcast to discuss how our understanding of delirium has changed over the past 30 years and previews her upcoming AAIC plenary talk about the intersection of delirium and dementia.

Guest: Sharon Inouye, PhD, director, Aging Brain Center, Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, professor, Harvard Medical School

Linda Lam
Linda Lam, MBChB, MD

AAIC Special Series Part 3

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an early stage of memory loss and cognitive impairment that can develop into dementia. While physicians have medications they can prescribe to manage the condition, many researchers and doctors are focusing on lifestyle interventions that could support a person’s cognition and address behavioral changes. Dr. Linda Lam joins the podcast to discuss her work studying mild cognitive impairment and preview her upcoming AAIC plenary talk on non-pharmacological treatments for MCI and dementia.

Guest: Linda Lam, MBChB, MD, professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Sarah Walter
Sarah Walter, MSc

AAIC Special Series Part 2

Attending scientific conferences is usually a major commitment, often requiring attendees to travel, pay attendance fees, and take time out during the day to learn about groundbreaking research. Recent conferences like the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) are opening their doors virtually to make the events more accessible to research participants, care partners, and the general public. Sarah Walter joins the podcast as part of our special series previewing AAIC 2022 to discuss her article on how virtual scientific conferences impact research participant engagement and why it’s important for participants to hear about the research they’re involved in.

Guest: Sarah Walter, MSc, program administrator, Alzheimer's Clinical Trials Consortium, Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute, University of Southern California

Claire Sexton
Claire Sexton, DPhil

AAIC Special Series Part 1

To kick off our month-long special series previewing the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, or AAIC, we’ve invited  Claire Sexton, senior director of the Alzheimer’s Association’s scientific programs, to join us to discuss the goals of AAIC, how the pandemic impacted the influential conference, and what she’s looking forward to at this year’s event.

Guest: Claire Sexton, DPhil, senior director of scientific programs and outreach, Alzheimer’s Association

Jonathan Baktari, MD
Jonathan Baktari, MD

A do-not-resuscitate, or DNR, order is used to indicate when a patient chooses to forgo resuscitation, however recent analysis shows that multiple studies have connected the presence of DNR orders to elevated death rates, poorer medical care, and negative health outcomes. Dr. Jonathan Baktari joins the podcast to discuss the findings from this analysis, how it can impact individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and how these concerns can be addressed.

Guest: Jonathan Baktari, MD, CEO, chief medical officer, e7 Health

Cindy Weinstein, PhD
Cindy Weinstein, PhD
Bruce Miller
Bruce Miller, MD

American literature professor and author Cindy Weinstein and behavioral neurologist Bruce Miller join the podcast to discuss their latest book, Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain, a dual-memoir that alternates between Weinstein’s memories of her father who experienced early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and Miller’s scientific responses. They discuss their writing process, developments in Alzheimer's disease research, and their experiences as care partners and care providers to those experiencing dementia.

Guests: Cindy Weinstein, PhD, Eli and Edythe Broad Professor of English, California Institute of Technology and Bruce Miller, MD, director, University of California San Francisco Memory and Aging Center

Remi Daviet
Remi Daviet, PhD

There are many conflicting studies on how alcohol consumption can impact a person’s health, with some studies suggesting light drinking can protect against coronary heart disease and others concluding that drinking can increase your risk for cancer. What does research say about alcohol and the brain? Dr. Remi Daviet joins the podcast to discuss his latest study that found that just one alcoholic drink a day was associated with brain shrinkage, and drinking more could increase that rate exponentially over time.

Guest: Remi Daviet, PhD, assistant professor, Wisconsin School of Business

Dr. Jessica Caldwell
Jessica Caldwell, PhD

In honor of Women’s Health Month, Dr. Jessica Caldwell joins the podcast to discuss sex differences in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. She explains some of the ways women experience aging and Alzheimer’s disease differently than men and how she incorporates research findings into patient care. 

Guest: Jessica Caldwell, PhD, director, Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement Prevention Center, Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas, assistant professor, Case Western Reserve University

Kao Lee Yang
Kao Lee Yang, MPA/PhD candidate

A graduate student from the University of Wisconsin–Madison is pushing for the disaggregation of data in research to better understand how individuals from different ethnic subgroups are represented as research participants and as researchers. Kao Lee Yang began writing and discussing the topic after the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study rejected her application for not meeting their racial and ethnic underrepresentation criteria, despite often being the only Hmong American scientist in many research spaces. Yang joins the podcast to discuss her opinion piece for STAT News, the problems with using aggregated data, and how the push to study individual ethnic groups could improve Alzheimer’s disease research.

Guest: Kao Lee Yang, MPA/PhD candidate in the Neuroscience and Public Policy Program and Bendlin Laboratory, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Dan King
Daniel A. King
dr cynthia carlsson
Cynthia Carlsson, MD, MS

Dr. Cynthia Carlsson and Daniel A. King join the podcast to discuss some of the unique ways that Alzheimer’s disease affects Veterans and Native Americans. Their work at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center allows them to connect with people who are at higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and help educate them on how to maintain brain health, both through Dr. Carlsson’s research and clinical practice and Mr. King’s outreach to Veterans and Native Americans. Discussing the importance of current outreach and educational efforts as well as what they’ve learned from engaging with Veterans and Native Americans, Dr. Carlsson and Mr. King describes how understanding different cultures and community experiences can help Alzheimer’s disease research better support underserved populations.

Guests: Cynthia Carlsson, MD, MS, professor of medicine and Alzheimer’s disease researcher, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, geriatrician, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, and Daniel A. King, member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Veteran recruitment coordinator, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Thomas Karikari, PhD
Thomas Karikari, PhD

Research in the field of fluid biomarkers is leading to new developments in Alzheimer’s disease identification, including new tests that can predict Alzheimer’s based on biomarkers in blood. Ahead of his keynote address as part of Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias Research Day on April 5, 2022, Dr. Thomas Karikari joins the podcast to discuss his work with these new blood tests, how accurate they are, and what research needs to be done before they are made available for clinical use.
Guest: Thomas Karikari, PhD, assistant professor, University of Gothenburg, University of Pittsburgh

Episode Topics

3:12 How close do you think we are to using these Alzheimer’s tests in doctor’s offices?

8:28 How accurate are the current available tests, such as spinal taps and these new blood tests, at identifying Alzheimer’s disease?

17:40 How early can these tests identify Alzheimer’s disease proteins before an individual shows symptoms?

21:41 How accurate can the risk calculators used with the ...

portrait of Luigi Puglielli MD PhD
Luigi Puglielli, MD, PhD

The Puglielli lab at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has found a way to manipulate autophagy — a process where cells clean out damaged materials — to rid the brain of toxic proteins like amyloid and tau. Researchers hope to use the power of this process to develop future treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases of aging. Luigi Puglielli joins the podcast to discuss his team’s research over the past 15 years, why the scientific process can take years to turn ideas into possible treatments, and how he hopes this research can be used in the future.

Guest: Luigi Puglielli, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Episode Topics

7:47 Tell us about how you manipulated this process of autophagy. Why is this discovery so important?

15:14 What role does acetyl-CoA play in the brain?

19:58 What does the future look like for this research?

Show Notes

Learn more about Luigi Puglielli, MD, PhD, and his ...

leonardo rivera
Leonardo Rivera-Rivera, PhD

A recent study from Alzheimer’s disease researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison used neuroimaging technology called 4D Flow MRI to study the relationship between blood vessel disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Published in December 2021, the study found that people with Alzheimer’s disease symptoms had stiffer blood vessels in their brains, which could lead to inflammation and a buildup of Alzheimer’s biomarkers like amyloid and tau proteins. Lead researcher Leonardo Rivera-Rivera joins the podcast to discuss his findings, the developments made with new 4D Flow MRI scans, and how these developments could impact future Alzheimer’s disease research and clinical practices.

Guest: Leonardo Rivera-Rivera, PhD, neuroimaging scientist, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Episode Topics

8:55 How does the 4D Flow MRI technology used in your study compare to MRIs used in clinics?

13:18 What did you look at in your study? What were your findings?

17:54 Did you see more ...

Jason Karlawish
Jason Karlawish, MD

On January 11, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its much-anticipated coverage proposal for monoclonal antibody treatments that target amyloid for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the proposed policy, this class of drugs, which includes aducanumab, also known by the brand name Aduhelm, would be covered for people with Medicare only if they are enrolled in qualifying clinical trials. Dr. Jason Karlawish joins the podcast to discuss the recent proposal, share his reaction to the decision, and tell us how this coverage policy could impact the development of other Alzheimer’s disease treatments in the future.

Guest: Jason Karlawish, MD, co-director, Penn Memory Center, professor of medicine, medical ethics and health policy, and neurology, University of Pennsylvania

Episode Topics

1:48 What’s the difference between the FDA and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services?

3:58 What is the purpose of sharing a proposal and allowing public comment ...

Howard Weiner, MD
Howard Weiner, MD

In November 2021, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston launched the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly 20 years of research went into developing the vaccine, which uses the immune system to clear Alzheimer’s disease-related proteins from the brain. Lead researcher Dr. Howard Weiner joins the podcast to discuss the science behind the vaccine and how it could introduce new ways of treating other neurodegenerative diseases in the future.

Guest: Howard Weiner, MD, professor of neurology, Harvard Medical School, co-director, Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Episode Topics

How does the vaccine work?

Why would a vaccine be a potentially better approach to treatment than a monoclonal antibody?

Do you think a vaccine could ever be used for prevention reasons instead of treatment?

Why a nasal vaccine versus into the muscle, like the COVID vaccine or flu vaccine?

Show Notes

Learn more about Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s ...

Peter Whitehouse MD PhD
Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD
Daniel George PhD MSc
Daniel George, PhD

Medical anthropologist and professor of humanities and public health sciences Daniel George, PhD, and professor of neurology and medicine Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD, join the podcast to discuss their recent book, American Dementia: Brain Health in an Unhealthy Society. In it, they argue that 20th century policies focused on reducing inequality, increasing access to education and healthcare, and protecting the environment contributed to today’s declining dementia rates, but inequalities in the 21st century are reversing these trends. Discussing the pros and cons of current social and clinical approaches to Alzheimer’s disease, our guests challenge assumptions about dementia caregiving and show how we can work together to create a healthier society.

Guests: Daniel George, PhD, medical anthropologist, associate professor of humanities and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, and Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, Case Western University, professor of ...

Tim Rhoads
Tim Rhoads, PhD

There are many common beliefs about metabolism. Perhaps you’ve heard that a person’s metabolism slows around middle age, or that a woman’s metabolism is slower than a man’s. However widespread these beliefs are, recent research from the journal Science has found that these conceptions of metabolism are wrong. In a groundbreaking study, researchers have found that metabolism goes through four key phases over our lives, only beginning to slow around age 60. This, among other findings, are now changing how we think about human physiology and how we think about aging. Breaking down this new research and his perspective article on the findings, Dr. Rhoads describes our shifting understandings of metabolism and how it impacts chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease as we age.

Guest: Tim Rhoads, PhD, assistant scientist, Rozalyn Anderson laboratory, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Episode Topics

2:30 - How is metabolism related to diseases of aging?

4:42 - What ...

Sayeh Bayat, PhD
Sayeh Bayat, PhD

Dementia impacts a person’s ability to complete day-to-day activities like familiar tasks at work or at home. What if we could identify these changes in everyday behaviors early enough to identify preclinical Alzheimer’s disease? That’s what Dr. Sayeh Bayat, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, looked to find out. Dr. Bayat is the lead author of a recent paper highlighting how driving behaviors such as braking, following the speed limit and the number of trips taken could predict preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Bayat joined the podcast to share findings from the paper and discuss some of the ways engineering and machine learning can help us discover more about dementia and aging.

Guest: Sayeh Bayat, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Geomatics Engineering, University of Calgary

Episode Topics

1:05 - What led you to study this intersection of engineering and aging?

3:23 - What inspired you to study the topic of driving and aging?

5:30 - Who was involved in the ...