25th International Conference of ADI

25th International Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International:
Dementia: Making A Difference
10-13 March 2010. Thessaloniki, Greece

[photo]Dr Daisy Acosta, ADI Chairman, speaking at the conference

Living with dementia, current issues in care, developments in advocacy and the latest in research results for treatment and prevention were at the forefront at the 25th International Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), which took place on 10-13 March 2010 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

An important session, showcasing a variety of efforts to engage people with dementia in the work of national Alzheimer associations, featured a particularly compelling and humorous talk from Martin Sewell and Edward McLaughlin on the work of the Scottish Dementia Working Group, which is run by people with dementia. Yoko Mizutani described efforts in Japan to integrate the voices of people with dementia in their governmental advocacy appeals and Peter Ashley, who has dementia with Lewy bodies, presented the Life History Network's 'Portrait of a Life' toolkit, which promotes well being and helps people with dementia to maintain relationships.

Strong emphasis was placed on non-pharmacological treatment for helping people with dementia and their carers throughout the conference. Topics included support groups for people in the early stages of dementia, stress management programmes for carers, implementation of "smart house" technologies to support families coping with dementia, nutritional interventions, and a variety of other methods for increasing physical activity, mental stimulation and social connectedness among people with dementia.

An interesting session on the arts and dementia included creative and thought-provoking work, including an innovative photographic awareness campaign organised by German photographer Michael Hagedorn, an art therapy programme in Croatia, a touching film about a mother's 'second life' as she lives with dementia, and a 'Show Compassion' benefit concert held in Australia in 2009. Judith Fox talked about her experience photographing and caring for her husband during the creation of her new book, 'I Still Do' and Berna Huebner presented an excerpt from her feature-length documentary about the positive impact of the arts on people with dementia.

Delegates at the conference were informed of new findings in dementia medical treatments and diagnosis. Dr Sam Gandy described new treatment developments in dementia, including therapies that have the greatest potential for entering clinical practice in the next few years while Prof Frank Jessen covered recent advances in neuroimaging and its benefits for both better and earlier diagnosis and increased understanding of the progression of the disease. Prof Bengt Winblad presented ongoing trials into dementia, summarising the positive outlook for medications currently being tested and Pieter Jelle Visser addressed the relationship between mild cognitive impairment and early diagnosis of dementia.

Conference delegates were also informed of the activities of ADI's recently developed prevention working group, which seeks to guide the development of effective dementia prevention approaches.

[photo]Prof Magda Tsolaki addresses delegates in Thessaloniki

A variety of discussions and presentations throughout the conference focused on the formation of a Global Alzheimer's Movement and improving dementia care and treatment. Others touched on ethical issues in dementia and fundraising in the current difficult economic climate.

The event was organised in collaboration with the Greek Association of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. The conference's delightful opening and closing ceremonies spotlighted Greek history and culture and promoted the next ADI conference in Toronto, Canada in March 2011.

ADI is grateful to the Greek Association, the organising committees, exhibitors and sponsors, and everyone that participated in the conference.

The programme and abstracts from the 2010 conference can be downloaded from the links below.