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Dementia Matters

About the Host

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doctor nathaniel chin

Dr. Nathaniel Chin is the creator and 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. Creator and 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 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

Dementia Matters Special Series: Voices of Research Participants

When Ms. Carol Turner found out her family had a history of Alzheimer’s disease, she wanted to know how she could help herself and others with similar experiences. After learning about the AHEAD Study, which is testing a treatment that could delay memory loss before Alzheimer’s symptoms appear, she signed up to participate in this ground-breaking research. Ms. Turner joins the final episode in our Voices of Research Participants series to discuss her journey as a research participant, how she became an advocate for others in her community and the power of representation in clinical trials.

Guest: Ms. Carol Turner, AHEAD Study participant

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

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Headshot of Dr. Scott Roberts
Scott Roberts, PhD

On this episode of Dementia Matters, Dr. Scott Roberts talks about disclosing genetic test results for APOE, a gene that can increase one’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. While this information can be concerning, Dr. Roberts shares that it can empower individuals to take the necessary precautions to lower their risk of developing the disease. He discusses the Risk Evaluation and Education for Alzheimer’s Disease (REVEAL) study, walks us through the APOE disclosure process and shares how it is evolving with the development of new Alzheimer’s treatments.

Guest: Scott Roberts, PhD, interim chair, professor of health behavior & health education, University of Michigan School of Public Health

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Brother John-Richard Pagan, MS

Dementia Matters Special Series: Voices of Research Participants

What do you do when dementia symptoms begin to upend your entire life? For Brother John-Richard Pagan, the answer was to persist in finding a diagnosis and a supportive community that aligned with his values. In this episode of our Voices of Research Participants series with co-host Sarah Walter, MSc, Br John-Richard describes how he went from a PhD student to a dementia research participant and his journey getting diagnosed with Lewy body dementia (LBD). Br John-Richard also discusses how his background in clinical psychology influenced his participation in research and his advocacy for disabled, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized community members in medical research.

Guest: Br John-Richard Pagan, MS, veteran, monastic, Episcopal Ecumenical Community, advocate, Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA)

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

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Josh Chodosh, MD

When it comes to dementia diagnoses, the earlier, the better, but why is it difficult to detect dementia in its early stages? Moreover, what strategies can be used to improve dementia detection? Dr. Josh Chodosh joins the podcast to answer these questions and discuss how public health initiatives could improve dementia diagnoses. He also talks about his work with the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Center, a public health center focused on early detection and ending the stigma around dementia.

Guest: Joshua Chodosh, MD, director, division of geriatric medicine and palliative care, Michael L. Freedman professor of geriatric research, Grossman School of Medicine, New York University, staff physician, VA Harbor Healthcare System

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Toby Campbell, MD, MS

Picture this: you are supporting someone experiencing memory changes as a clinician, support person or care partner while they go through the memory clinic process. How do you navigate the challenging conversations surrounding symptoms, diagnoses, care plans and more that come up? Dr. Toby Campbell joins the podcast to discuss the importance of shared decision-making and share strategies for clinicians, care partners and loved ones to help navigate these important conversations with respect and empathy.

Guest: Toby Campbell, MD, MS, thoracic medical oncologist, chief of palliative care, UW Health, professor of hematology, medical oncology and palliative care, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

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Rema Raman, PhD

Advances in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials are accelerating rapidly, leading to new insights and disease-modifying therapies, but how does the field continue bolstering that momentum? For Dr. Rema Raman, it’s through improving inclusivity and training for early-career researchers. Recorded at the 2024 Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias Research Day, Dr. Raman joins the podcast to discuss her work in research recruitment and retention, the importance of training the next generation of clinical trialists in dementia research with the IMPACT-AD program and more from her featured presentation.

Guest: Rema Raman, PhD, co-director, Institute of Methods and Protocols for Advancement of Clinical Trials in ADRD (IMPACT-AD), director, section of biostatistics, section of participant recruitment & retention section, Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute, professor of neurology, University of Southern California

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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)

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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

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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

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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)

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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.

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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

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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)
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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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