31st International Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International

Dementia: Global Perspective, Local Solutions
21-24 April 2016, Budapest, Hungary

ADI and the Hungarian Alzheimer's Society (HAS) hosted the 31st International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International in Budapest, Hungary. The conference was attended by nearly 900 delegates including many people with dementia, along with professional and family carers, researchers, clinicians, and staff and volunteers of Alzheimer associations. Delegates came from 70 countries across the world, including representatives from Alzheimer Europe, the World Dementia Council and Dementia Alliance International.

The conference theme was Dementia: Global Perspective – Local Solutions, reflecting the varied programme covering care, medical research and lived experience on both a global and national level, demonstrating the importance of working together.

Official welcome

The opening ceremony of the conference was opened by ADI Chair Glenn Rees with the release of two new reports and new website content outlining the key principles, importance and examples of dementia friendly communities worldwide. Introductions were given by Dale Goldhawk, Vice Chairman.

On behalf of the Mayor of Budapest, an official welcome to the country was given by Dr. Gábor Bagdy, Deputy Mayor of Budapest, followed by an introduction to the importance of dementia in Hungary by Dr. Attila Beneda, Deputy State Minister for Health, Dr Zsófia Pusztai, leader of the Hungarian WHO Office and Károly Czibere, State Minister of Social Affairs. A welcome to Hungary was given by Támas Kurimay and Prof. János Kálmán from the Hungarian Alzheimer’s Society, and followed by entertainment by Hungarian performing artists Fricksa. The opening ceremony was concluded by a poignant memorial lecture dedicated to the late Dr. Richard Taylor, recognising his huge impact in the dementia field and advocacy for people with dementia.

Plenary Sessions

The first plenary session at the conference included an excellent overview of the ‘Advances towards prevention, treatment and cure’ chaired by Prof. Tamás Kurimay, and included a particularly interesting presentation by the chairman of the ADI Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel (MSAP), Dr. Serge Gauthier.

From this and other presentations, we learned there that there is good progress in medical research with exciting news of potential new drug treatments becoming available in the coming years, as well as research on risk reduction and the results of studies in the psychosocial field, summarised by Prof. Martin Orrell.

Other plenary sessions included a crucial update on the importance of ‘Dementia and lifestyle factors’ featuring talks by Prof. Henry Brodaty and Prof. Tobias Hartmann. The conference was also a chance to hear from leading experts in the plenary debate ‘What are the global numbers of people with dementia?’ including talks by Prof. Carol Brayne, Martin Prince and Tiia Ngandu.

Debates on the rights of people with dementia and the importance of communicating dementia research were all part of the programme, as well as updates on the latest projects and innovations of our member associations. Other presentations included the importance of engaging people with dementia in clinical research, of funding global research and focusing on the impact of dementia in lower income countries. We also heard about dementia cafes by Argentina and Slovenia, the huge success of the 'Dementia Supporter Caravan' program in Japan, green care farms in the Netherlands, dementia friends and online tools in the dementia field.

As large contributors to dementia research funding, Alzheimer associations from the USA, UK and Netherlands presented on the final day of the conference, on the role of associations in research funding, in the final plenary 'Bringing Research Together'.

Policy Topics

Parallel sessions, ‘Law, ethics and the rights of people with dementia’, ‘Action on dementia strategies and policies’ and ‘Human rights and dementia’ encouraged debates on the rights of people with dementia, with a special focus on the advocacy for national dementia strategies and the enabling of greater recognition of rights through the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities (UN-CPRD).

Other sessions included the importance of communicating dementia research and of tackling stigma and inclusion.

NCD Dialogues

Two NCD Dialogues, on prevention and early diagnosis and end of life care, were held in collaboration with the NCD Alliance. There was a consensus on the need for dementia to be integrated into global and national public health programmes alongside other major Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), with a particular focus on awareness building, advocacy and strengthening partnerships.

Carer of the year

The winner of the 2016 ADI-Home Instead ‘Carer of the Year’ Award was announced at the opening ceremony of the conference.  Vassiliki Terkenli received the award as the carer for her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the age of 88. She stated that she had overcome her fear to learn more about dementia and was thankful for the support of the Greek Association of AD and Related Disorders and others who had helped her confront the disease, saying she was honoured to be attending such an important conference.

Closing message

The conference concluded with a powerful message for ADI to strengthen its commitment to the rights, and voices, of people with dementia worldwide, through further collaboration with Dementia Alliance International and an exciting invitation for our supporters globally to join us at the 32nd International Conference of ADI in Kyoto, April 2017. 

ADI's thanks go to the Hungarian Alzheimer’s Society, committee members, Tensi, all of the sponsors, exhibitors, presenters and participants for contributing to a great conference.

Many presentation slides from the conference are now available online.

Programme book, abstracts and slides

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