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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 Editors: Eli Gadbury and Alexia Spevacek
Producers: Amy Lambright Murphy and Caoilfhinn Rauwerdink

Like what you’re hearing and learning? Make an impact when you make a tax-deductible gift to the Dementia Matters fund of the UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s.

Recent Episodes

Headshot of Dr. Sara Langer
Sara Langer, MD

Dementia Matters Special Series: Voices of Research Participants

What do you do if you have a family history of dementia and are experiencing symptoms, but can’t get a diagnosis? Dr. Sara Langer has dealt with just that. In the latest episode of our Voices of Research Participants series, Dr. Langer shares the obstacles she endured to receive her diagnosis of Lewy body dementia (LBD), how her background as a neurologist influenced her search for clinical care and how she turned to dementia research to find answers. She also discusses ways that the field of dementia research could improve to support those with other forms of dementia outside of Alzheimer’s disease.

Guest: Sara Langer, MD, neurologist

Co-host: Sarah Walter, MSc, program administrator, Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Consortium (ACTC) and Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI)

Headshot of Dr. Victoria Williams
Victoria Williams, PhD

The brain is the most complex part of the human body, controlling thought, memory, emotion, motor skills, sensory input and all the processes that regulate our bodies. How exactly does it work, and how are clinicians able to determine whether brain changes are a result of normal aging, Alzheimer’s disease, or something else? Dr. Victoria Williams joins the podcast to explain important concepts in neuropsychology, from the difference between cognition and intelligence to how memories are made, and discuss how cognitive tests work in memory clinics.

Guest: Victoria Williams, PhD, neuropsychologist, UW Health, assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Headshot of Dr. Jim Jackson
Jim Jackson, PsyD

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020, there have been many concerns about how cases of COVID-19 and Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions (PCC) affect not just a person’s physical health, but their cognition as well. In this episode, Dr. Jim Jackson talks about his path into critical illness research and his dedicated focus on unraveling the impact of Long COVID on cognition. Throughout the discussion, he talks about the parallels between Long COVID and other chronic illnesses, the effects of Long COVID across different demographics, the concurrent challenges faced by older adults and more.

Guest: James “Jim” Jackson, PsyD, director of long-term outcomes, Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) Center, research associate professor of medicine, director of behavioral health, ICU Recovery Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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Frank Lin, MD, PhD

Hearing loss affects roughly 15.5% of Americans 20 years and older. While the majority of these individuals experience mild hearing loss, the prevalence and severity of hearing loss increases with age. What does this sensory change mean for dementia risk, and can this risk be prevented through interventions like hearing aids? Dr. Frank Lin joins the podcast to discuss the relationship between hearing loss and dementia and share findings from the Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders, or ACHIEVE, study.

Guest: Frank Lin, MD, PhD, director, Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, Professor of Otolaryngology, Medicine, Mental Health, and Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University

Headshot of Cynthia Sierra
Cynthia Sierra, MS, LPC
Dementia Matters Special Series: Voices of Research Participants

Caring for a loved one with cognitive decline can be challenging. While it is a labor of love, burnout is all but inevitable. In this episode kicking off our Voices of Research Participants series with co-host Sarah Walter, Cynthia Sierra touches on her personal experience with caregiver burnout as both a caregiver and research study partner for her mother, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She also shares her unique perspective on Alzheimer’s disease research as someone who started as a family caregiver.

Guest: Cynthia Sierra, MS, LPC, senior project manager, UT Health San Antonio

Co-host: Sarah Walter, MSc, program administrator, Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Consortium (ACTC) and Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI)

Headshot of Dr. Nathaniel Chin
Nathaniel Chin, MD

In the past few years, new therapies shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease in people in the early stages of the disease have been making their way through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval process. With these treatments now available, there are a growing number of questions surrounding who is eligible to take these medications and what processes are needed to ensure they are prescribed safely and effectively. Host Dr. Nathaniel Chin examines the guidelines for geriatricians and clinicians prescribing lecanemab and breaks down the eligibility requirements necessary to receive this treatment.

Headshot of Dr. Luke Stoeckel
Luke Stoeckel, PhD

In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a report showing promising but inconclusive evidence suggesting that interventions like cognitive training, blood pressure control and increased physical activity reduce a person’s risk for dementia, but what does the research show now? Dr. Luke Stoeckel from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) joins the podcast to share where the research on lifestyle interventions is at, why studies on these interventions are difficult to complete and more.

Guest: Luke Stoeckel, PhD, program director, Mechanistic and Translational Decision Science Program, Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR), NIA

Headshot of Dave Adam
Dave Adam
In this year-end episode of Dementia Matters, we explore the vital role of philanthropy in advancing Alzheimer's disease research and care. Mr. Dave Adam serves on the board of visitors for the UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s (IEA) and is an avid long-distance biker. In this episode, Adam shares his journey of combining his passions for biking and Alzheimer's advocacy. With personal experiences touched by dementia, Dave discusses how he used his solo biking expeditions across Canada and Australia to raise awareness and funds to support prevention and treatment strategies, improve care and benefit researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Guest: Dave Adam, board of visitors, UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s (IEA)
Headshot of Paul Seidler, PhD
Paul Seidler, PhD

Dr. Paul Seidler joins the podcast to discuss his recent study looking at the connection between molecules in green tea and tau proteins. He also discusses the impact those molecules have on preventing cognitive decline and how these findings could lead to new strategies for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Guest: Paul Seidler, PhD, assistant professor, University of Southern California Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Headshot of Alison Huang
Alison Huang, PhD, MPH

In May 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, released an advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness and social isolation in the U.S. With this widespread issue affecting such a broad population, how does social isolation impact older adults? Dr. Alison Huang joins the podcast to share insights from her study on the relationship between social isolation and the risk of dementia in older adults. Using data from a nine-year National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), she discusses how factors like living alone, limited social networks and reduced activity participation contribute to increased dementia risk.

Guest: Alison Huang, PhD, MPH, senior research associate, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Headshot of Dr. Nathaniel Chin
Nathaniel Chin, MD

Six years following the start of Dementia Matters in October 2017, the podcast team turns the tables on our host, Dr. Nathaniel Chin. Producers Amy Lambright Murphy and Caoilfhinn Rauwerdink talk with Dr. Chin about how the podcast got started, the brain health tips he incorporates into his own life, how he envisions the field of Alzheimer’s disease research advancing in the next five years and other personal insights from the person behind the podcast.

Guest: Nathaniel Chin, MD, geriatrician, medical director, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, host, Dementia Matters

Headshot of P. Murali Doraiswamy
P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP

Cognitive engagement is vital to keeping your brain healthy since it can slow shrinkage and induce neuroplasticity. While modern technology offers many new tools and games to keep your brain active, are they better than traditional puzzles like crosswords? Dr. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University joins the podcast to talk about his recent study, in collaboration with principal investigator Dr. Dev Devanand of Columbia University, on the effects of daily crossword puzzles on the brain health of older adults in comparison to daily computerized games. 

Guest: P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, director, Neurocognitive Disorders Program, physician scientist, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, professor of psychiatry and medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, co-author, The Alzheimer’s Action Plan

Headshot of Beth Fields
Beth Fields, PhD

Dementia caregiving is a multifaceted domain, deeply influenced by research, strategy and personal experiences. How are these elements shaping the current and future landscape of care? Dr. Beth Fields joins the podcast to discuss strategies and resources for caregivers from both national, state and personal perspectives, including the CHAT tool, the CAPABLE program and the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers.

Guest: Beth Fields, PhD, board-certified occupational therapist, assistant professor, Department of Kinesiology, affiliate faculty member, Center for Aging Research and Education and Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison

doctor art walaszek
Art Walaszek, MD

Like cognition, mental health is a key component of the brain — and overall — health. In what ways can mental health and chronic mental illness impact a person’s cognition and risk for dementia? Dr. Art Walaszek joins the podcast to discuss the relationships between dementia and chronic mental illnesses, including major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in older adults.

Guest: Art Walaszek, MD, geriatric psychiatrist, professor, vice chair for education and faculty development, Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

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

The 2023 Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in Amsterdam brought together the world's leading scientists, clinical researchers, early career investigators, caregiving researchers and more to discuss the latest findings and advancements in dementia science. Dr. Percy Griffin joins the podcast to share key highlights from the conference. He discusses the use of CRISPR technology in Alzheimer's research, the significance of defining Alzheimer's by its biology rather than its symptoms and how the field is moving toward a precision medicine approach. 

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

Headshot of Dr. Carl Hill from the Alzheimer's Association
Carl V. Hill, PhD, MPH

How can we ensure that all communities are represented in Alzheimer’s and related dementias research and have access to the latest treatments and interventions? Dr. Carl Hill, the chief diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer for the Alzheimer's Association, joins the podcast to delve into the significance of representation, diversity, equity, equality and inclusion within Alzheimer's disease research. He discusses the challenges of underrepresentation in clinical trials, the importance of community-based participatory research (CBPR) and the social determinants of health that influence Alzheimer's risk.

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

Headshot of Helen Kales
Helen Kales, MD

Many people living with dementia experience behavioral symptoms alongside changes in their cognition. What can care partners and healthcare providers do to manage these behavioral changes? After leading the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center’s (ADRC) annual Dr. Daniel I. Kaufer Lecture, Dr. Helen Kales joins the podcast to discuss agitation and other behavioral symptoms of dementia, the use of medications to manage these symptoms, and different caregiving approaches for addressing these behavioral changes in people living with dementia.

Guest: Helen Kales, MD, geriatric psychiatrist, Joe P. Tupin Endowed Professor of Psychiatry, Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis

Headshot of Gina Green-Harris
Gina Green-Harris, MBA

Gina Green-Harris joins the podcast to discuss the importance of collaborating with communities in Alzheimer’s research. Sharing her experience as a researcher with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (WAI) and the All of Us research program, she describes the key tenets of community engagement and explains ways researchers can build intentional, sustainable partnerships with communities throughout the research process This episode is part of a series featuring speakers from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center’s (NACC) Fall 2022 ADRC Meeting, where the overarching theme was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in ADRC research and operations.

Guest: Gina Green-Harris, MBA, director, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute Regional Milwaukee Office, co-primary investigator, co-director, University of Wisconsin–Madison’s All of Us research program

Headshot of Cally Xiao, PhD
Cally Xiao, PhD

The APOE gene is recognized as a significant genetic risk factor for cognitive decline, with different alleles, like APOE e2, being seen as protective against decline and others, like APOE e4, indicating an increased risk for cognitive decline. However, new studies are looking at whether these trends are universal across different racial and ethnic groups. Dr. Cally Xiao joins the podcast to discuss her study, which focuses on how different APOE alleles affect risk for Alzheimer’s disease within Hispanic populations compared to non-Hispanic populations.

Guest: Cally Xiao, PhD, Project Specialist, Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network, Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, University of Southern California

Headshot of Dr. Bob Pryzbelski
Robert Przybelski, MD, MS

On July 6, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval for the Alzheimer’s disease drug Leqembi (lecanemab-irmb), the first medicine shown to delay the course of the disease. Having gone through a rigorous approval process, the medication exemplifies a critical advancement in the ongoing battle to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Having already prescribed the treatment to real-life patients, Dr. Robert Przybelski joins the podcast to discuss his experience prescribing and administering lecanemab, what clinicians and patients should discuss when considering these treatments, and what is needed to integrate these treatments into the healthcare system.

Guest: Robert Przybelski, MD, MS, director, Geriatric Memory Clinics, UW Health, professor, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Headshot of Crystal Glover
Crystal Glover, PhD

Dr. Crystal Glover, health equity in aging researcher at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, joins the podcast to discuss the importance of increasing brain donations and tissue samples from older adults of underrepresented backgrounds. Dr. Glover talks about the reasons why participants may be interested in brain donations, the barriers that they may face, and the benefits of combining both qualitative and quantitative data within her research. This episode is part of a series featuring speakers from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center’s (NACC) Fall 2022 ADRC Meeting, where the overarching theme was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in ADRC research and operations. 

Guest: Crystal Glover, PhD, leader, Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement Core, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Behavioral Sciences, Rush Medical College

Headshot of Paul Aisen, MD
Paul Aisen, MD

On June 9, 2023, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory committee unanimously voted to approve lecanemab, moving the treatment one step closer to full FDA approval. In the lead up to the FDA’s official announcement expected in early July, Dr. Paul Aisen joins the podcast to discuss Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials. Aisen,  the founding director of the Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI) and a leading figure in Alzheimer’s disease research for over three decades, talks about the Phase 3 clinical trials for lecanemab and gantenerumab and shares highlights from the 2022 Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) conference.

Guest: Paul Aisen, MD, professor of neurology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Director, Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute

Headshot of Lisa Barnes, PhD
Lisa Barnes, PhD

Dr. Lisa Barnes joins the podcast to discuss her research focusing on how social determinants of health, specifically racial differences, affect chronic diseases of aging.She explains the difference between equality, equity and justice, and the different drivers of disparities within the medical field. This episode is part of a series featuring speakers from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center’s (NACC) Fall 2022 ADRC Meeting, where the overarching theme was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in ADRC research and operations. 

Guest: Lisa Barnes, PhD, Alla V. and Solomon Jesmer Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, neuropsychologist, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Headshot of Nathaniel Chin, MD, in his office
Nathaniel Chin, MD
To mark National Mediterranean Diet Month, Dr. Nathaniel Chin discusses a recent National Institute on Aging-funded study that suggests the MIND and Mediterranean diets — both rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, olive oil, beans and fish — are associated with fewer signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of older adults. In this special episode of Dementia Matters, Chin also revisits his interview with the creator of the MIND diet, Dr. Martha Clare Morris, shares recommendations for ten things to incorporate into your diet and five things to limit, and touches on the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Headshot of Sarah Biber, PhD
Sarah Biber, PhD

Dr. Sarah Biber, the program director for the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC), joins the podcast to discuss efforts to increase representation and equitable practices across the 37 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers (ADRCs). She discusses key disparities in Alzheimer’s disease research, why diversity and inclusion are imperative in research, and what is being done to address these disparities with the data collected from research participants. This episode is the first of an upcoming series featuring speakers from the Fall 2022 ADRC Meeting, where the overarching theme was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in ADRC research and operations. 

Guest: Sarah Biber, PhD, program director, National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center