About the Host
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.
Email your questions and episode suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audio Editors: Haoming Meng and Taylor Eberhardt
Producers: Amy Lambright Murphy and Caoilfhinn Rauwerdink
Like what you’re hearing and learning? Make an impact when you make a gift to the UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Incorporating Cultural Knowledge: Improving Alzheimer’s Disease Research for Veterans and Native Americans
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
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
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 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
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?
Learn more about Luigi Puglielli, MD, PhD, and his ...
Go with the (4D) Flow: Neuroimaging Technology Used to Study Overlap of Cerebrovascular Disease and Alzheimer’s
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
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 ...
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
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 ...
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
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?
Learn more about Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s ...
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 ...
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
2:30 - How is metabolism related to diseases of aging?
4:42 - What ...
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
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 ...
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.
2:00 - How did you get into this field, and why did you choose to study dementia?
3:04 - What was the methodology behind this research? What was that process like to collect this data?
5:47 - What are some of the key findings that you took away from the report?
7:59 - What did you discover about stigma while conducting this report? Why is that important to this discussion about diagnosis and subsequent care?
9:47 - How can people encourage ...
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 ...
You Are What You Eat: Study of Diet and Brain Health Shows Cognitive Benefits from Cheese, Wine and Lamb
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 ...
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 ...
Caregivers, Care Partners and People with Dementia: Brainstorming New Interventions for Dementia Care
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 ...
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
1:13 Vince Tien, what is your background in healthcare? How did you get involved in Alzheimer's disease and dementia care?
3:43 Dr. Trinh, what is your experience in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
6:06 What are the health-related needs of AAPI communities? And, when it comes to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, what ...
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
1:31 - What inspired you to bring the arts and humanities to dementia care?
4:51 - Why did you write Creative Care, and what do you want readers to leave with?
7:49 - What are “beautiful questions” and can you ...
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
1:17 What sparked your interest in studying the effects of cigarette smoking and, particularly, how it affects cognitive decline?
3:47 What are the effects of smoking on Alzheimer’s ...