Colloquium: October 6, 2015

Advancing the Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease by 2025

Kathleen A. Welsh-Bohmer

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 2:00 P.M. in Pearl Young Theatre in the Integrated Services Building


The world population over age 60 is growing at an increasingly rapid rate. With this growth of the aging population comes a concomitant increase in cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular dementia, as well as a broad number of other systemic medical disorders that influence cognition. It is anticipated that without effective treatments for AD and other progressive dementias, the public health demands and the health care costs associated with caring for dementia patients will be staggering in the next 30 years. While clinical research is directed at developing treatments for AD, there is also a focus on prevention strategies that might be implemented at the community level to either delay the clinical onset of the disease or slow its progression. Much of the evidence that the disease is modifiable comes from global studies of dementia which contrast the prevalence of disease across differing populations and then explore variations in environmental, genetic, and health exposures across regions to determine factors that might account for differences across groups. In this presentation we will examine the evidence that AD is a modifiable disease. We begin by examining the most current population trends in AD prevalence and incidence and then focus on regional differences in lifestyle and health factors that are associated with these trends. We will focus on the impact of prevention approaches that address the suggested underlying risk conditions that are modifiable. We will then conclude by considering new innovations in treatment approaches and the use of technology that may have an impact on short term and long term public health outcomes at both the individual and the community level.

Learning Objectives:
1. Be able to describe the population trends of dementia across the globe and the differences observed across developed and less developed countries
2. Understand the lifestyle and health factors that have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and all-cause dementia risk as well as the influence that modifying these factors can have on future public health


Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer
Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer
Dr. Welsh-Bohmer completed her BS at Duke University, MA & PhD at the University of Virginia, and her clinical training in neuropsychology at the University of Iowa. She joined the faculty at Duke University Medical Center in the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in 1987. She has led large teams of scientific investigators across the US to discover the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease risk. In 2006, she was appointed Director of the Bryan Alzheimer’s Center at Duke, where she leads a large multidisciplinary team who are focused on discovering the biological basis of Alzheimer’s disease and developing methods to enhance early diagnosis and speed drug discovery. Currently, she oversees the neuropsychology scientific operations of a Phase III global clinical trial to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease entitled the “TOMMORROW” study (Takeda Pharmaceutical Company funded). The methods her team is developing for this study fill an information void and have implications for accelerating global clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease prevention.