In November, experts from across Canada gathered in Toronto to share advances in dementia research at the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging’s (CCNA) third annual events.
With close to 200 members in attendance, the two-day event broached topics from new advancements in scientific research to overcoming social and cultural barriers for people living with dementia through patient engagement in research.
“Sharing knowledge and research is crucial in the prevention, treatment, and management of all forms of dementia,” said Dr. Howard Chertkow, Scientific Director of the CCNA. “This forum allows us to successfully continue to do just that.”
Day one, Partners’ Forum, highlighted the need for national dementia research priority setting, and drew on global perspectives from the World Health Organization and World Dementia Council. Presenters shared the ‘top 10’ list of research questions developed by the Canadian Dementia Priority Setting Partnership. Broader discussions focused on a dementia research consortium “without borders” and the value of making strategic investments in the CCNA, as a part of Canada’s dementia research strategy.
Keynote speaker, The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie, reminded participants of the need for a national strategy for dementia-friendly communities, articulated in the 2016 Senate Report. He also encouraged researchers and partner representatives to approach Senators and Members of Parliament committed to the issue as a cohesive group. Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, Dalhousie Professor & Senior Researcher, echoed the sentiment saying, “the fact that we are working together to advance the research is the key to our success.”
Day two, Science Day, shared new dementia research results (or discoveries). Experts emphasized challenges and opportunities, such as developing a multi-component intervention to support decision-making about driving with dementia or exploring the complexities of accessing care for those living in rural communities. Participants also heard inspirational messages from the Indigenous community about the need for policy to be informed and guided by the community.
The CCNA’s Trainees also had the opportunity to participate in a poster competition, promoting their findings to senior researchers and representatives from the CCNA’s 14 partner organizations.