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Dementia Matters

About the Host

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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 dementiamatters@medicine.wisc.edu.
Audio Editor: Caoilfhinn Rauwerdink
Producer: Rebecca Wasieleski

Recent Episodes

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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

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Peter Whitehouse MD PhD
Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD
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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 medicine, University of Toronto

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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 published in 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

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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

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Dr Serge Gauthier
Serge Gauthier, CM, MD

Alzheimer’s Disease International’s World Alzheimer’s Report 2021 recently found that 75% of people with dementia are undiagnosed, equating to 41 million people across the globe. The report, subtitled “Journey through the diagnosis of dementia,” also found clinician stigma is still a major barrier to diagnosis, and one in three believe nothing can be done about dementia. Dr. Serge Gauthier, co-author of the report, joins the podcast to discuss these findings, recommendations for improving dementia diagnoses, and more from the report.

Guest: Serge Gauthier, CM, MD, professor and director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit at the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging, McGill University

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head shot of Maria Mora Pinzon
Maria Mora Pinzon, MD, MS

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s newly-released tool, BrainGuide, may seem like a simple questionnaire, but the project highlights a growing movement to make Alzheimer’s disease research and resources accessible to a broader range of communities. Released in 2021, BrainGuide is a one-of-a-kind resource that provides information about Alzheimer’s disease in English and Spanish through online and telephone questionnaires. Dr. Maria Mona Pinzon, a physician-scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and a consultant on BrainGuide, joins the podcast to discuss the impacts this project has had on educating the Latinx community about Alzheimer’s disease. Discussing the barriers and risks that the Latinx community face surrounding brain health, the ways to connect with the community through research, and her experience working on BrainGuide, Dr. Pinzon highlights the importance and impacts of community-tailored research and resources. 

Guest: Maria Mona Pinzon, MD, MS, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

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Auriel Willette, PhD
Auriel Willette, PhD

A recent study of nearly 1,800 participants from the UK Biobank found that three dietary elements — cheese, wine, and lamb — may improve long-term cognitive outcomes in aging adults. Dr. Auriel Willette, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, joins the podcast to discuss these new findings linking diet and cognitive changes. In November 2020, Willette published a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease titled “Genetic Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease Modulate How Diet is Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Trajectories: A UK Biobank Study,” where he and his team studied the effects of particular foods on a person’s brain health over time. As well as the findings surrounding cheese, wine, and lamb, they found that limiting salt intake was good for the brain, especially for those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Discussing the field of nutritional research, his prior work studying diet and brain health, and how these findings impact other recommended diets, Willette provides insight into how our current diets can impact our health and cognitive abilities later in life, allowing us to make better choices for the future.

Guest: Auriel Willette, PhD, associate professor of food science and human nutrition, Iowa State University.

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Sarah Lenz Lock
Sarah Lenz Lock

With the numerous efforts currently focused on educating the public about dementia, from clinical programs to research to podcasts (like this one), how much is stigma surrounding cognitive decline affecting public understanding? On today’s podcast, Sarah Lock, Senior Vice President for Policy for AARP, discusses just that. This year, the AARP published a report on a survey focused on how the general American population and particular subgroups perceive dementia and dementia diagnoses. The survey found that the general public and health care professionals have many misperceptions about dementia, including overestimations about their likelihood to develop dementia and the shame they might feel about a diagnosis. Describing the contrasting perceptions between clinicians and the public and the impacts of stigma on dementia policy, Lock details the ways this survey will allow the AARP to build on their existing programs about brain health to better educate the public about dementia and the ways it affects a person’s life.

Guest: Sarah Lenz Lock, Senior Vice President for Policy, AARP, Executive Director of the Global Council on Brain Health

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Eric Larson, MD
Eric Larson, MD, MPH

When talking about dementia caregiving, researchers are often working toward new treatments and strategies for supporting people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. But how can we push the topic further and learn how we can better support dementia caregivers themselves? Dr. Eric Larson joins the podcast to discuss possible interventions to support patients with dementia and their caregivers and care partners. Dr. Larson chaired a National Academy of Medicine committee focused on researching dementia caregiving interventions. As part of their report titled “Meeting the Challenge of Caring for Persons Living with Dementia and Their Care Partners and Caregivers: A Way Forward,” the committee found that two models, the Collaborative Care Model and REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiving Health), had the most evidence of benefits for supporting people with dementia and their care partners and caregivers. Discussing this new report, the recent approval of aducanumab, and the field of geriatrics as a whole, Dr. Larson shines a light on the nuances of dementia research and dementia caregiving.

Guest: Eric Larson, MD, MPH, Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

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Vince Tien
Vince Tien
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Dung Trinh, MD
Dung Trinh, MD

Vince Tien and Dr. Dung Trinh join the podcast to discuss the many ways Alzheimer’s disease affects the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community. Vince Tien and Dr. Trinh both work as part of 360 Clinic, a multi-specialty medical group focused on telehealth services. With their experience in healthcare and telehealth services amidst the pandemic, Tien and Dr. Trinh describe the barriers and stigma that discourage the AAPI community from seeking help for dementia and the ways that we can dismantle those barriers. 

Guests: Vince Tien, co-founder, CEO, 360 Clinic, and Dung Trinh, MD, chief medical officer, 360 Clinic

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Anne Basting
Anne Basting, PhD

What would happen if caregiving strategies were inspired by wonder rather than memory? That’s what Dr. Anne Basting, founder and president of the nonprofit TimeSlips, asked when she began her research into how the arts could be integrated into dementia caregiving. Basting joins the podcast to discuss her caregiving approach rooted in creative engagement and imagination. From storytelling to beautiful questions to performance, Basting describes a new way of caregiving that helps caregivers and families meet patients and loved ones where they’re at to have meaningful connections and spark joy in the later years of life.

Guest: Anne Basting, PhD, professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, founder and president of TimeSlips, author of Creative Care

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Adrienne Johnson, PhD
Adrienne Johnson, PhD

Researchers have produced many studies on how smoking affects parts of the body, such as the lungs or heart, but what about the brain? In today’s podcast, Adrienne Johnson, PhD, discusses her research on cigarette smoking and risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As part of a 2021 study, she found a person’s risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease can be affected by how recently they’ve smoked. Diving into her research, the effects of smoking on different communities, and resources to support current smokers as they quit, Dr. Johnson details the impact of smoking on the brain and her hopes to develop new interventions to motivate smokers to quit for good.

Guest: Adrienne Johnson, PhD, assistant scientist at the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention

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Elisa Ghezzi, DDS, PhD
Elisa Ghezzi, DDS, PhD

Elisa Ghezzi, DDS, PhD, joins the podcast to discuss the importance of maintaining oral health throughout one’s life, and especially as one grows older. Discussing the effects of oral health on our systemic health, oral health’s connection to dysphagia, and how caregivers can help dementia patients care for their teeth, Dr. Ghezzi provides insight on how vital it is to care for our oral health as we age.

Guest: Elisa Ghezzi, DDS, PhD, adjunct clinical assistant professor, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, provider, Voiage Portable Dentistry

Dementia Matters has entered into the 2021 People's Choice Podcast Awards! If you enjoy our show and want to support us, register and vote before July 31st at www.podcastawards.com, and vote for us under the Health and People's Choice categories. We, the Dementia Matters team, hope that by participating, we can continue spreading our message and educate new listeners about Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and brain health.

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Daniel Gibbs, PhD
Daniel Gibbs, PhD

Neurologist and author Daniel Gibbs, PhD, joins the podcast to discuss his recent book, “A Tattoo on My Brain,” which details his journey from treating Alzheimer’s disease clinically for 25 years to being diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s. Dr. Gibbs discusses early signs he experienced and daily life with the disease, as well as thoughts on the recent FDA-approved treatment aducanumab (marketed as Aduhelm).

Guest: Daniel Gibbs, PhD, neurologist

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Nina Silverberg, PhD
Nina Silverberg, PhD

For our 100th episode of Dementia Matters, Nina Silverberg, PhD, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers (ADRC) Program at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), joins the podcast to offer an overview of the ADRC Program as well as insight into the state of Alzheimer’s Disease research and its future. The NIA funds more than 30 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers across the country, including the Wisconsin ADRC.

Guest: Nina Silverberg, PhD, National Institute on Aging

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image of Dr. Michelle Braun smiling with a teal shirt
Michelle Braun, PhD

Neuropsychologist and author Michelle Braun, PhD, joins the podcast to talk about lifestyle changes that can support brain health. “We have the ability to make our brain younger than our chronological age,” she says. Braun shares how and details strategies from her new book, “High-Octane Brain: 5 Science-Based Steps to Sharpen Your Memory and Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s.” Hear about common misconceptions around aging, three possible brain health trajectories, and how to maximize your brain health.

Guest: Michelle Braun, PhD, neuropsychologist and national leader in the field of brain health

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man with dark, curly hair wearing a blue suit jacket standing in front of a light blue wall
Leonardo Iaccarino, PhD

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that among older adults with cognitive impairment, the greater the air pollution in their neighborhood, the higher the likelihood of the presence of amyloid plaques in their brain. Lead researcher Leonardo Iaccarino, PhD, details his work examining air pollution and brain health outcomes and discusses possible ways individuals and society can lower the impact of air pollution on Alzheimer’s disease risk. 

Guest: Leonardo Iaccarino, PhD, University of California San Francisco Memory and Aging Center

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Elizabeth Marcus
Elizabeth Marcus
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Martin Samuels
Martin Samuels, MD

Inappropriate sexual behavior is a common yet rarely discussed symptom in individuals with dementia. Author Elizabeth Marcus writes about her personal experience with her father’s behavioral changes in her new book, “Don’t Say a Word!: A Daughter’s Two Cents.” Elizabeth shares what she learned caring for her father, as well as advice for caregivers responding to the symptoms. Neurologist Dr. Martin Samuels offers background on changes in the brain that can cause inappropriate sexual behavior and other personality shifts that are common in people with dementia.

Guest: Elizabeth Marcus, author; Martin Allen Samuels, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital

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Debra Kan
Deborah Kan

Being Patient is an online news source dedicated to providing research news, caregiver information and resources related to Alzheimer's disease. Being Patient founder Deborah Kan discusses how her personal experiences led her to develop the website, as well as how online resources and communities can help empower individuals affected by memory loss.

Guest: Deborah Kan, journalist, founder of beingpatient.com

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Jason Karlawish
Jason Karlawish, MD

Dr. Jason Karlawish discusses society’s role in addressing care for individuals with memory loss, as well as current stigmas around Alzheimer’s disease, Wealthcare, and his cautious optimism for the future of Alzheimer’s disease research and care. This is the final episode in our four-part series with Dr. Karlawish on his new book, "The Problem of Alzheimer's: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It.”

Guest: Jason Karlawish, MD, co-director, Penn Memory Center

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Jason Karlawish
Jason Karlawish, MD

Dr. Jason Karlawish joins the podcast for the third installment in our series on his new book, "The Problem of Alzheimer's: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It". In this episode, Dr. Karlawish discusses the healthcare system’s role in Alzheimer’s disease and what it needs to do better to care for individuals with dementia and help them live well.

Guest: Jason Karlawish, MD, co-director, Penn Memory Center

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Jason Karlawish
Jason Karlawish, MD

Dr. Jason Karlawish returns to the podcast to continue our discussion on his new book, The Problem of Alzheimer's: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It. In this episode, Dr. Karlawish discusses pivotal cultural and political moments that influenced Alzheimer’s disease research, as well as the possibilities of drug treatments in the future.

Guest: Jason Karlawish, MD, co-director, Penn Memory Center

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Jason Karlawish
Jason Karlawish, MD

Physician and author Dr. Jason Karlawish joins the podcast for the first installment of a four-part series centered around his new book, The Problem of Alzheimer's: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It. In the book, Karlawish blends history and science to detail the most important breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. He also offers an argument for how we can live with dementia and proposes reforms we can make as a society that would give caregivers and patients better quality of life. In this episode, Dr. Chin and Dr. Karlawish discuss Alzheimer’s disease in a historical context and the disease's changing meaning.

Guest: Jason Karlawish, MD, co-director, Penn Memory Center

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Dr. Lauren Nicholas
Lauren Nicholas, PhD

In a recent study, health economist Lauren Nicholas, PhD, found older adults who go on to be diagnosed with dementia are more likely to miss payments on bills as early as six years before a diagnosis. Dr. Nicholas joins the podcast to discuss her research findings, how financial symptoms could be used as early predictors of dementia, signs that may indicate financial trouble due to dementia, and resources for managing your own or a loved one’s finances early.

Guest: Lauren Nicholas, PhD, associate professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health