Aging Forward Series: Dementia
The Future of Dementia
The single biggest risk factor for dementia is growing old, and within the next decade we will be an older society than has ever existed in human history. Current projections expect more than 13 million Americans to have Alzheimer’s by 2050 and put the cost of dealing with dementia higher than heart disease and cancer combined. Our ability for early detection is going to improve rapidly as advances in genetics and new applications of data analytics precisely pinpoint those at highest risk, often before symptoms start to show. But by 2025, there is not likely to be a “cure,” largely due to a more nuanced understanding of the heterogeneity of the condition. The future of aging is inexorably tied to the future of dementia care and the next decade presents both daunting challenges and inspiring opportunities.
This Aging Forward series looked beyond the medical model of treatment and explored how to design systems and services that ensure quality of life and create caring, dementia-friendly communities. Bringing together the unique and provocative perspectives of Dr. Peter Whitehouse and Almira Osmanavic Thunström, we discussed the social shifts that are changing the way we think about brain aging and technological innovations that are creating new ways to engage with memory loss.
Watch the full video:
Almira Osmanovic Thunström received her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science with a major in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2007 at the University of Skövde and her two-year master’s degree in Medical Science with major in Mental Health at the Karolinska Institutet in 2009. Currently Almira is working as a PhD student at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden researching stress and cognitive decline in older adults. In 2012 she started the SciPhi Lab, a think tank for scientists where the future of science, ethics, biological and biotechnological advances are explored. She is a frequent vlogger where she often focuses on conceptualization of new technology that may advance healthcare practices.
Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology as well as former Professor of Cognitive Science, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Psychology, Nursing, Organizational Behavior, Bioethics and History. He is also currently a strategic advisor in innovation at Baycrest and Professor of Medicine (Neurology) at the University of Toronto. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and MD-PhD (Psychology) from The Johns Hopkins University (with field work at Harvard and Boston Universities), followed by a Fellowship in Neuroscience and Psychiatry and a faculty appointment at Hopkins. With colleagues he discovered fundamental aspects of the cholinergic pathology in Alzheimer’s and related dementias, which lead to the development of current generation drugs to treat these conditions.
He is the author of a provocative book entitled “The Myth of Alzheimer’s: what you aren’t being told about today’s most dreaded diagnosis.” (www.themythofalzheimers.com). He has also published 100’s of peer-reviewed articles including in the highest impact medical and scientific journals and edited several books.