Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Friday, July 30 2021 - 05:58
Highlights From The Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2021
DENVER, July 30, 2021 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

Research presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference(R) ( ) (AAIC(R)) 2021 suggests COVID-19 is associated with long-term 
cognitive dysfunction and acceleration of Alzheimer's disease pathology and 
symptoms. These studies were among several pieces of groundbreaking research 
featured at AAIC 2021.

Logo - 

"These new data point to disturbing trends showing COVID-19 infections leading 
to lasting cognitive impairment and even Alzheimer's symptoms," said Heather 
Snyder, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association vice president of medical and scientific 
relations. "With more than 190 million cases and over 4 million deaths 
worldwide, COVID-19 has devastated the entire world. It is imperative that we 
continue to study what this virus is doing to our body and brain."

Other new data reported at AAIC 2021 included:

-- Improving air quality may reduce dementia risk.
-- Global prevalence of dementia is expected to nearly triple to more than 152 
million by 2050.
-- Transgender and gender nonbinary adults in the United States are more likely 
to report worsening memory and thinking, functional limitations and depression 
than cisgender individuals.
-- Communities of color, historically underrepresented in dementia research, 
are more willing to participate if they are invited, want to contribute to the 
study's goal or have a family member with dementia.

With FDA-accelerated approval of aducanumab (Aduhelm, Biogen/Eisai) for mild 
cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild Alzheimer's, there is new energy and 
interest in other treatments in the Alzheimer's/dementia therapeutic pipeline. 
Reports at AAIC 2021 included new data and analyses of the furthest advanced 
investigational anti-amyloid drugs — donanemab (Eli Lilly) and lecanemab 
(Biogen/Eisai) — plus a wide variety of other approaches, including anti-tau 
strategies, anti-inflammatory targets, and neuroprotection and regenerative 

"As the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's research, care and 
support, the Alzheimer's Association believes we're living in a new era of 
advancement. We're seeing at AAIC this year dozens of novel treatment 
approaches that are gaining momentum in clinical trials," said Maria C. 
Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association chief science officer. "Alzheimer's is 
a complex brain disease, and very likely will need multiple treatment 
strategies that address the disease in several different ways along the length 
of its course. These treatments, once discovered and approved, may then be 
combined into powerful combination therapies."

AAIC is the premier annual forum for presentation and discussion of the latest 
Alzheimer's and dementia research. This year's hybrid conference event took 
place both virtually and in-person in Denver and attracted over 11,000 
attendees and more than 3,000 scientific presentations.

COVID-19 Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Dysfunction, Acceleration of 
Alzheimer's Symptoms Much has been learned about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that 
causes the novel coronavirus, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
However, questions remain about the long-term impact of the virus on our bodies 
and brains. New data presented at AAIC 2021 from Greece and Argentina suggest 
older adults frequently suffer long-term cognitive impairment, including 
persistent lack of smell, after recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

These new data are the first reports from an international consortium — 
including the Alzheimer's Association and teams from nearly 40 countries — who 
are researching COVID-19's long-term effects on the central nervous system.

Improving Air Quality Reduces Dementia Risk, Multiple Studies Suggest
Improving air quality may improve cognitive function and reduce dementia risk, 
according to several studies reported at AAIC 2021. Among the key findings are:

-- Reduction of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and traffic-related pollutants 
(NO2) over 10 years was associated with 14% and 26% reductions, respectively, 
in dementia risk and slower cognitive decline in older U.S. women, according to 
results from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study-Epidemiology of 
Cognitive Health Outcomes (WHIMS-ECHO).
-- In a French study, reduction of PM2.5 concentration over 10 years was 
associated with a 15% reduced risk of all-cause dementia and 17% reduced risk 
of Alzheimer's.
-- Long-term exposure to air pollutants was associated with higher beta amyloid 
levels in a large U.S. cohort, showing a possible biological connection between 
air quality and physical brain changes that define Alzheimer's disease, 
according to a team at University of Washington.

Global Dementia Cases Forecasted to Triple by 2050
Positive trends in global education access are expected to decrease dementia 
prevalence worldwide by 6.2 million cases by the year 2050. Meanwhile, 
anticipated counter-trends in increased smoking, high body mass index and high 
blood sugar are predicted to increase prevalence by nearly the same number: 6.8 
million cases. A team from the University of Washington modeled these 
projections on health data collected and analyzed by a worldwide consortium of 
researchers between 1990 and 2019 as part of the Global Burden of Disease 
study. Also reported at AAIC 2021:

-- Each year, an estimated 350,000 individuals develop early onset dementia 
(prior to age 65) globally, according to researchers in the Netherlands. To 
address the need for services for this population, the Alzheimer's Association 
helped launch the Longitudinal Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Study (LEADS) ( ) to look at early onset disease progression.
-- From 1999 to 2019, the U.S. mortality rate from Alzheimer's in the overall 
population significantly increased from 16 to 30 deaths per 100,000, an 88% 
increase, according to researchers at Emory University. Among all areas of the 
U.S., mortality rates for Alzheimer's were highest in rural areas in the East 
South-Central region of the U.S., where the death rate from Alzheimer's is 274 
per 100,000 in those over 65. Lowest Alzheimer's mortality was found in the 
Mid-Atlantic region.

Transgender Adults More Likely to Experience Subjective Cognitive Decline, 
Depression Transgender and gender nonbinary adults in the United States are 
more likely to report worsening memory and thinking, functional limitations and 
depression compared to cisgender (non-transgender) adults, according to two 
studies reported at AAIC 2021. Key findings include:

-- Transgender adults — individuals who identify with a gender different than 
the one assigned to them at birth — were nearly twice as likely to report 
worsening confusion or memory loss (subjective cognitive decline, or SCD) and 
more than twice as likely to report SCD-related functional limitations, such as 
reduced ability to work, volunteer or be social, according to researchers at 
Emory University.
-- Prevalence of depression was significantly higher for transgender and gender 
nonbinary adults (individuals who identify outside the male/female binary) 
(37%) compared to cisgender adults (19.2%), according to a team at University 
of Wisconsin.
-- Little is known about dementia and cognitive impairment among transgender 
individuals. However, transgender adults experience a greater number of health 
disparities considered risk factors for dementia, including cardiovascular 
disease, depression, diabetes, tobacco/alcohol use and obesity. Social 
inequities may also play a role in increasing risk of cognitive impairment.

Addressing Diversity in Alzheimer's Clinical Trials
At AAIC 2021, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the U.S. National 
Institutes of Health, launched a new online tool, Outreach Pro, to help 
researchers and clinicians increase awareness and participation in clinical 
trials on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, especially among 
traditionally underrepresented communities. Other key findings reported first 
at AAIC 2021 include:

-- Historically under-represented individuals are most willing to volunteer for 
a clinical trial if they are invited to participate (85%), want to contribute 
to the goal of research (83%) or have a family member with the disease (74%), 
according to a team at University of Wisconsin.
-- They also found that African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian 
respondents are significantly more likely to volunteer if asked by a person of 
the same race, and are more concerned than Whites about disruption of work and 
family responsibilities and availability of transportation and childcare.
-- Commonly used Alzheimer's clinical trial exclusion criteria have the 
potential to disproportionately affect African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos, 
which may play a role in their reduced enrollment in research, according to NIA 

About the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC)
The Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world's 
largest gathering of researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer's 
and other dementias. As a part of the Alzheimer's Association's research 
program, AAIC serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia 
and fostering a vital, collegial research community.

AAIC 2021 home page:  
AAIC 2021 newsroom:  
AAIC 2021 hashtag: #AAIC21

About the Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization 
dedicated to Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to lead the 
way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global 
research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality 
care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other 
dementia(R). Visit or call 800.272.3900.

SOURCE: Alzheimer’s Association