Scientific Program - Dementia

Please see below the CONy Scientific Program. Please click on the appropriate section (ordered by ABC) to view the relevant program. Please note that the program and timing is subject to change. To view the program timetable, please click here

Section Heads: Lefkos Middleton, UK & Magda Tsolaki, Greece
FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017
Hall C
Chairs: Ioannidis Evdokimidis, Greece; Benedetta Nacmias, Italy (TBC)
Debate: Is SNAP a preclinical state of Alzheimer's disease (AD)?
Capsule: Suspected Non–AD Pathophysiology (SNAP) is a recently introduced term to denote the presence of biomarker-based evidence of neurodegeneration in the absence of significant amyloid brain load, in asymptomatic or mildly affected individuals. This is in contrast to pre-clinical stages of presence of increased amyloid load without neurodegeneration (stage I) or with neurodegenration (stages II and III). Is SNAP also a pre-clinical stage of AD?
Host: Lefkos T Middleton, UK
Yes: Kurt Jellinger, Austria
No: Lea Grinberg, USA / Brazil
Discussion and rebuttals
Proposition: Animal models for AD have led us nowhere
Capsule: The reproducibility of laboratory experiments is fundamental to the scientific process. There have been increasing reports regarding challenges in reproducing and translating preclinical experiments in animal models. In Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, there have been similar reports and growing interest from funding organizations, researchers, and the broader scientific community to set parameters around experimental design, statistical power, and reporting requirements. A number of efforts in recent years have attempted to develop standard guidelines; however, these have not yet been widely implemented by researchers or by funding agencies. A workgroup of the International Alzheimer's disease Research Funder Consortium, a group of over 30 research funding agencies from around the world, worked to compile the best practices identified in these prior efforts for preclinical biomedical research. There is now a published consensus of this work that includes recommendations for researchers and funding agencies on designing, performing, reviewing, and funding preclinical research studies, but there is still a debate.
Host: Magda Tsolaki, Greece
Agree: Marwan N Sabbagh, USA
Disagree: Spiros Georgopoulos, Greece

Discussion and rebuttals


Debate: Is mild cognitive impairment (MCI) a useful concept?
Capsule: Within the framework of AD, preclinical cognitive impairment is usually captured using the term MCI. Do we need this term?
Host: P. Giannakopoulus, Switzerland
No: Magda Tsolaki, Greece
Yes: Morris Freedman, Canada
Discussion and rebuttals
Debate: Diet and dementia: Still an unsolved issue requiring further nutrient mechanism-based research?
Capsule: Mediterranean diet is seen as a key protective factor for AD and other late onset dementias, based on epidemiological studies, in the absence of mechanistic nutrient based evidence to substantiate the epidemiological observations. Are such nutrient- based studies a pre-requisite before dietary recommendations formally become part prevention strategies for age-related dementias such as AD?
Host: Nikolas Scarmeas, Greece
Pro: Roger Bullock, UK (TBC)
Con: Evangelos Evangelou, UK
Discussion and rebuttals
Chairs: Antigoni Avramouli, Greece
Debate: Does cognitive reserve prevent neurodegeneration?
Capsule: Late-onset AD is a multi-factorial disease caused by the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. There is growing evidence suggesting that certain lifestyle factors such as diet, education, cognitive and physical activity, as well as early life factors such as maximal brain volume, may provide reserve against neurodegenerative pathology. Is the effect of reserve purely symptomatic or is it neuroprotective?
Host: Robert Perneczky, UK
Pro: Panos Alexopoulos, Greece
Con: Eider Arenaza-Urquijo, USA
Discussion and rebuttals
Debate: Can we ascribe the reduction of the incidence and prevalence of late onset dementia solely to a better management of cardio-vascular disease and diabetes?
Capsule: Patients suffering from PD will develop dementia if they live long enough. In some cases, synuclein deposition in the cortex is associated with cognitive changes before the occurrence of parkinsonism. Are these two different disorders or two presentations of the same disorder?Emerging evidence from studies of prospective cohorts in Europe and the US suggests a declining pattern of the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) over the last decades. It is thought that the main driver of this effect is related to a better management of cardiovascular risk and diabetes, although other lifestyle modifiable factors have also been proposed, namely educational attainment, obesity, smoking, physical and mental activities as well as social interactions.
Host: Marwan N Sabbagh, USA
Pro: Ioanna Tzoulaki, UK
Con: Evangelos Evangelou, UK
Discussion and rebuttals


Proposition: GWAS in AD are a waste of time and money?
The role of APOE isoforms on non- familial AD risk has been well documented and validated. However, there is a significant investment in time and effort, notwithstanding the involvement of thousands of patients and controls, to identify other susceptibility genes. At the last count, over 50 "smaller effect” gene variants have been reported. However, has this impacted our understanding of the etiology of AD?
Host: S. Efthimiopoulos,Greece
Yes: George Koutsis, Greece (TBC)
No: Andreas Papassotiropoulos, Switzerland
Discussion and rebuttals



Are low-risk genes for AD really important?
Cornelia M. van Duijn, Netherlands
The tau connection
Lea Grinberg, USA

10:00-10:30 Coffee Break

Is diabetes directly affecting the risk of AD?
Zoe Arvanitakis, USA

What can genetics teach us about human memory?
Andreas Papassotiropoulos, Switzerland


Behavioral symptoms of dementia and their management
Constantine Lyketsos, USA
Nonpharmacological Interventions in dementia
Magda Tsolaki, Greece
Where does AD pathology start?
Dementia Roundtable: Research, Innovation and Social Support In Greece