Dr. Heather M. Snyder explains
There is new hope for Alzheimer’s, a disease affecting millions of Americans and costing the U.S. 226 billion dollars this year alone.
Leading researchers from around the globe gathered in Washington D.C., at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest forum for this community to discuss groundbreaking research and innovative discoveries.
In a recent interview Dr. Heather M. Snyder, PhD, Director of Medical and Scientific Operations at the Alzheimer’s Association discussed some of the groundbreaking research and innovative discoveries in the area of Alzheimer’s disease.
‘The new thing in research is our early life and how it may impact our later life risks, such as type 1 diabetes that is typically diagnosed in childhood. People are linked to an increased risk later on in life for Alzheimer’s and related dementia,” said Dr. Snyder. This is the first study reported at the AAIC. People in the study with type 1 diabetes were 93% more likely to get dementia (73% after adjustment for heart health risk factors) compared with people without diabetes.
Even though there are currently no treatments that change the underlying course of Alzheimer’s disease, early detection. Early detection improves access to medical and support services. Provides an opportunity to make legal, financial and care plans while the affected individual is still capable and may reduce health care costs by delaying placement in a nursing home. But what new things have we learned at the AAIC about early detection and Alzheimer’s?
According to Dr. Snyder “We are at a place where we understand the underlying biology of changing a decade or more before someone experiences the memory changes associated with Alzheimer’s, the idea that we can detect those earliest changes. At the dinner of the AAIC, one idea is the potential use of saliva to see those changes. It’s a low cost easy to use tool but healthcare professionals refuse to detect people who should go for further follow-up. We don’t know what that tool will look like but we do know we see that type tool for healthcare professionals and more research is needed. “
When is comes to Alzheimer’s women are at the core of the disease. Among the five million people living with Alzheimer’s, more than two-thirds are women and we don’t understand why?
“Is that women are living longer or that there are underlying biologic or genetic reasons for this difference,” said Dr. Snyder. “New research that was presented at the AAIC suggest that women have early memory changes, actually decline twice as fast as men and in fact those same women have an increased build up for the beta-amyliod protein in their brain that is a hallmark ranking of Alzheimer’s disease More research is needed to find out what these differences may mean in terms of the number of people that are living with the disease,” she said.
For more information on Alzheimer’s please go to the Alzheimer’s Association website.
Heather M. Snyder
Director, Medical & Scientific Operations, Alzheimer’s Association
Dr. Snyder is Director of Medical and Scientific Operations at the Alzheimer’s Association. She oversees the Association’s International Research Grant Program, the mechanism through which the Association funds research applications. In addition to ensuring the smooth review of applications and distribution of awards to successful applicants, she is responsible for the dissemination of results and ongoing investigations to a wide range of audiences.
She also manages a collaborative project with the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health to develop an International Alzheimer’s Disease Research Portfolio – using a common language to describe funded research to enable the integration and comparative analysis of Alzheimer’s research funding from public and private organizations from around the world.
Dr. Snyder received her Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and her B.A. in Biology and Religious Studies from The University of Virginia. Since graduating from Stritch, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Neurobiology Program at Children’s Memorial Research Center, affiliated with Northwestern University, in Chicago.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease. www.alz.org
Additional Source AAIC Press Release