Dementia Matters podcast

Dementia Matters

Wisconsin Alzheimer‘s Disease Research Center

Brought to you by the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Dementia Matters is a podcast dedicated to discussing the latest in Alzheimer’s disease research and caregiving resources. Our host, Dr. Nathaniel Chin, speaks with a range of research and caregiving experts to keep you informed on current research studies, headlines and caregiving strategies. Find show notes and more resources at

100 Episodes

  • Dementia Matters podcast

    Global Challenges in Dementia Diagnosis: A Deep Dive into ADI’s World Alzheimer’s Report 2021


    Alzheimer’s Disease International’s World Alzheimer’s Report 2021 recently found that 75% of people with dementia are undiagnosed, equating to 41 million people across the globe. The report, subtitled “Journey through the diagnosis of dementia,” also found clinician stigma is still a major barrier to diagnosis, and one in three believe nothing can be done about dementia. Dr. Serge Gauthier, co-author of the report, joins the podcast to discuss these findings, recommendations for improving dementia diagnoses, and more from the report. Episode Topics 2:00 - How did you get into this field, and why did you choose to study dementia?  3:04 - What was the methodology behind this research? What was that process like to collect this data? 5:47 - What are some of the key findings that you took away from the report? 7:59 - What did you discover about stigma while conducting this report? Why is that important to this discussion about diagnosis and subsequent care? 9:47 - How can people encourage their healthcare systems to have better diagnoses practices in place? 12:04 - What role do PET scans and blood-based biomarkers play in this effort for more diagnoses? Should everyone get these tests done? 13:56 - How do you think new therapies like Aducanumab are going to change how we view diagnosis? 16:33 - What are some of the key recommendations for government agencies from the report? 18:33 - Most agencies in the United States do not recommend screening for cognitive impairment without symptoms. Is that a mistake, and if so, how do we change those policies? 19:31 - What role do specialists, memory centers, and community agencies play in improving diagnosis? Should we have a primary care focus or should we train more specialists and organizations to help with diagnosis? 21:59 - Do you think there needs to be a change in how we use terms like dementia and major neurocognitive disorder? Should we adopt a universal terminology surrounding cognitive impairment, and do you think dementia should be retired due to the stigma it carries? 22:57 - What are some of the easiest things we can do to help our system diagnose people with dementia? 24:42 - What gives you hope that things will get better in the diagnosis and care of people with dementia? Show Notes The World Alzheimer Report 2021 includes over 50 essays from leading experts from around the world and is supported by findings from 3 key global surveys, which received responses from 1,111 clinicians, 2,325 people with dementia and carers, and over 100 national Alzheimer and dementia associations. Find more information about the 2021 World Alzheimer’s Report from Alzheimer’s Disease International on their website. A PDF of the report, “Journey through the diagnosis of dementia,” is also available on their website to read. To learn more about Dr. Serge Gauthier, read his bio on the McGill University website.
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    Accessibility and Community: Bringing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resources to the Latinx Community


    UsAgainstAlzheimer’s newly-released tool, BrainGuide, may seem like a simple questionnaire, but the project highlights a growing movement to make Alzheimer’s disease research and resources accessible to a broader range of communities. Released in 2021, BrainGuide is a one-of-a-kind resource that provides information about Alzheimer’s disease in English and Spanish through online and telephone questionnaires. Dr. Maria Mona Pinzon, a physician-scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and a consultant on BrainGuide, joins the podcast to discuss the impacts this project has had on educating the Latinx community about Alzheimer’s disease. Discussing the barriers and risks that the Latinx community face surrounding brain health, the ways to connect with the community through research, and her experience working on BrainGuide, Dr. Pinzon highlights the importance and impacts of community-tailored research and resources.  Guest: Maria Mona Pinzon, MD, MS, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Episode Topics 1:17 - How did you get into this field of an aging population and people living with dementia? 6:12 - Is the idea of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia discussed within the Latinx community in general? 7:38 - Latinx individuals are 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia. Is there research that can explain this higher risk? 9:53 Tell us about this tool, the Spanish-Language BrainGuide, some of the resources it offers, and why it is important to make it available to Spanish speakers. 12:47 - What’s something you learned from this experience that surprised you? 14:14 - What are the barriers Latinx people face in learning about brain health, dementia, and getting involved in research? 18:25 - What strategies do you suggest to improve the connection between researchers and the Latinx community as well as recruitment into research? 20:06 - When thinking about education and raising awareness, what topics are most important right now for the Latinx community? 21:58 - What do you do in your personal life to keep your brain healthy?  Show Notes Learn more about the Spanish-Language BrainGuide, its questionnaire, and other resources on their website. To fill out the questionnaire, you can find it digitally on their website ( or complete it over the phone by calling or texting 855-272-4641. Learn more about Dr. Mora Pinzon at her bio on the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute website.
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    You Are What You Eat: Study of Diet and Brain Health Shows Cognitive Benefits from Cheese, Wine and Lamb


    A recent study of nearly 1,800 participants from the UK Biobank found that three dietary elements — cheese, wine, and lamb — may improve long-term cognitive outcomes in aging adults. Dr. Auriel Willette, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, joins the podcast to discuss these new findings linking diet and cognitive changes. In November 2020, Willette published a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease titled “Genetic Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease Modulate How Diet is Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Trajectories: A UK Biobank Study,” where he and his team studied the effects of particular foods on a person’s brain health over time. As well as the findings surrounding cheese, wine, and lamb, they found that limiting salt intake was good for the brain, especially for those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Discussing the field of nutritional research, his prior work studying diet and brain health, and how these findings impact other recommended diets, Willette provides insight into how our current diets can impact our health and cognitive abilities later in life, allowing us to make better choices for the future. Guest: Auriel Willette, PhD, associate professor of food science and human nutrition, Iowa State University. Episode topics 1:34 - What sparked your interest in studying the effects of nutrition on the brain and on cognition? 4:41 - What prompted you to broaden your study to focus on overall diet and whole foods? 8:29 - Can you tell us about your prior research? 12:46 - Can you tell us a bit about the study and what you discovered? 19:48 - What do you think the mechanism is that allows cheese and alcohol to be beneficial for people’s brain health? 24:28 - How do you reconcile these findings, especially those surrounding cheese, with diets like the MIND diet? 28:38 - What dietary changes have you made in your own life that you might recommend for protecting your brain health? Show Notes Find out more about Dr. Willette by reading his bio from Iowa State University. Learn more about Dr. Willette’s study at this article by Iowa State University. Read the full study, “Genetic Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease Modulate How Diet is Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Trajectories: A UK Biobank Study.” Find us Online - Dementia Matters Website | ADRC Facebook | ADRC Twitter
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    AARP Study Shows Stigma Surrounding Dementia among Healthcare Professionals and General Public


    With the numerous efforts currently focused on educating the public about dementia, from clinical programs to research to podcasts (like this one), how much is stigma surrounding cognitive decline affecting public understanding? On today’s podcast, Sarah Lock, Senior Vice President for Policy for AARP, discusses just that. This year, the AARP published a report on a survey focused on how the general American population and particular subgroups perceive dementia and dementia diagnoses. The survey found that the general public and health care professionals have many misperceptions about dementia, including overestimations about their likelihood to develop dementia and the shame they might feel about a diagnosis. Describing the contrasting perceptions between clinicians and the public and the impacts of stigma on dementia policy, Lock details the ways this survey will allow the AARP to build on their existing programs about brain health to better educate the public about dementia and the ways it affects a person’s life. Guest: Sarah Lenz Lock, Senior Vice President for Policy, AARP, Executive Director of the Global Council on Brain Health Episode Topics 1:48 - Can you share what went into making the survey and who completed them? 5:05 - What did the survey find? How do people think about their own risk? 7:14 - Can you speak about those key findings surrounding stigma and dementia? 9:43 - What do you make of the stigma's connection to the fear of not being able to drive anymore? 12:48 - What key findings did you find about the clinicians who completed the survey? 15:32 - One finding from the survey showed that healthcare providers overestimated the shame and embarrassment that a person would experience with a diagnosis. What were other perceptions that clinicians overestimated in the survey? 17:20 - From a policy perspective, does the United States need to change its recommendations surrounding dementia screenings? 20:01 - Could you share the true benefits of early diagnoses, based on the survey and what you see within the AARP? 21:21 - Did the survey find any differences in the perceptions among different racial groups? 23:28 - How do you define brain health? What is the AARP doing to spread information about brain health? Show Notes Learn more about Sarah Lock and her work at her bio on the AARP website. For a summary of the key findings of the AARP’s report, read this article by the AARP. To access the full report and its findings, find it here on the AARP website. Find us Online - Dementia Matters Website | ADRC Facebook | ADRC Twitter
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    Caregivers, Care Partners and People with Dementia: Brainstorming New Interventions for Dementia Care


    When talking about dementia caregiving, researchers are often working toward new treatments and strategies for supporting people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. But how can we push the topic further and learn how we can better support dementia caregivers themselves? Dr. Eric Larson joins the podcast to discuss possible interventions to support patients with dementia and their caregivers and care partners. Dr. Larson chaired a National Academy of Medicine committee focused on researching dementia caregiving interventions. As part of their report titled “Meeting the Challenge of Caring for Persons Living with Dementia and Their Care Partners and Caregivers: A Way Forward,” the committee found that two models, the Collaborative Care Model and REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiving Health), had the most evidence of benefits for supporting people with dementia and their care partners and caregivers. Discussing this new report, the recent approval of aducanumab, and the field of geriatrics as a whole, Dr. Larson shines a light on the nuances of dementia research and dementia caregiving. Guest: Eric Larson, MD, MPH, Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Questions 1:07 - What sparked your interest in becoming a geriatrician and Alzheimer’s disease/dementia researcher? 2:35 - What would you say to young medical students looking for a specialty, and even considering geriatrics? 3:33 - Why do you think the field fails to attract younger doctors? 5:13 - What is the role of the National Academy of Medicine, and why did it conduct and release this report on caregiving? 7:29 - Can you offer us a brief summary of the findings or the key things that you think our audience should know about? 10:48 - What are the current limitations of the existing research on dementia care interventions for patients and caregivers, and how can we overcome those limitations? 12:38 - What is the difference between a care partner and a caregiver as you note in the report? 14:03 - What are some community, policy, or societal interventions that really should be explored? 15:46 - Does this report mean that we stop programs with low-strength of benefits, and if not, how do we continue to evaluate these programs and expand on them? 17:12 - Given the FDA approval of aducanumab, do you worry that more attention and resources will be pulled away from care work and care partner/caregiving that’s needed in research and clinical care toward this medication? 19:42 - What would you say to someone about to become an Alzheimer’s disease caregiver or care partner? Show Notes Read Dr. Eric Larson’s bio on the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute’s website. Find a free download of the National Academies’ report, “Meeting the Challenge of Caring for Persons Living with Dementia and Their Care Partners and Caregivers: A Way Forward,” here. To learn more about the National Academies, find them on their website. For information about their research, publications, and events focused on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, visit this page from their website. Find other resources related to this report by the National Academy of Medicine here: Report Highlights Press Release Recommendations Find us Online - Dementia Matters Website | ADRC Facebook | ADRC Twitter
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    Tackling Stigma and Alzheimer’s Disease within the AAPI Community


    Vince Tien and Dr. Dung Trinh join the podcast to discuss the many ways Alzheimer’s disease affects the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community. Vince Tien and Dr. Trinh both work as part of 360 Clinic, a multi-specialty medical group focused on telehealth services. With their experience in healthcare and telehealth services amidst the pandemic, Tien and Dr. Trinh describe the barriers and stigma that discourage the AAPI community from seeking help for dementia and the ways that we can dismantle those barriers.  Guests: Vince Tien, co-founder, CEO, 360 Clinic, and Dung Trinh, MD, chief medical officer, 360 Clinic   Episode Topics: 1:13 Vince Tien, what is your background in healthcare? How did you get involved in Alzheimer's disease and dementia care? 3:43 Dr. Trinh, what is your experience in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? 6:06 What are the health-related needs of AAPI communities? And, when it comes to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, what are these communities’ needs? 7:44 Is there a certain perception of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognition within the AAPI community?  9:22 How do you find common ground between accessibility issues of technology and the benefits of telehealth? 13:07 What role does stigma play in the Asian American or Vietnamese communities specifically when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease? How does it affect caregiving and family members? 14:18 How do we start destigmatizing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive change within the Asian American community? 16:06 How does healthcare address the cultural, economical, linguistic barriers that Asian Americans experience regarding public health messages and care? 17:18 How can healthcare systems and organizations provide care for underresourced and underrepresented families who are suffering from dementia-related illnesses? 19:58 What would be the one thing you’d want the Asian American community to know about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care?   Follow Dementia Matters: Find Dementia Matters online Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter   Show Notes: To learn more about 360 Clinic, find them at their website, Instagram, and Twitter. Learn more about Dr. Dung Trinh at his LinkedIn and his Facebook Page. Learn more about Vince Tien at his LinkedIn.
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    Creative Care: The Power of Imagination in Dementia Caregiving


    What would happen if caregiving strategies were inspired by wonder rather than memory? That’s what Dr. Anne Basting, founder and president of the nonprofit TimeSlips, asked when she began her research into how the arts could be integrated into dementia caregiving. Basting joins the podcast to discuss her caregiving approach rooted in creative engagement and imagination. From storytelling to beautiful questions to performance, Basting describes a new way of caregiving that helps caregivers and families meet patients and loved ones where they’re at to have meaningful connections and spark joy in the later years of life. Guest: Anne Basting, PhD, professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, founder and president of TimeSlips, author of Creative Care Episode Topics 1:31 - What inspired you to bring the arts and humanities to dementia care? 4:51 - Why did you write Creative Care, and what do you want readers to leave with? 7:49 - What are “beautiful questions” and can you offer a few examples? 14:32 - What is in the Creative Care Imagination Kit and why is each component important to the process? 15:49 - You’ve staged theater productions in care facilities as part of this process. How do performers in these plays respond to being a part of theater and how does the audience respond to the performances? 18:43 - How can people get involved in this organization and what do you recommend to people who would like something like this in a local care facility? 19:48 - What would you say to someone about to embark on the caregiving journey with someone with dementia? Follow Dementia Matters Find Dementia Matters online Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Show Notes Read Anne Basting’s biography on her website. Learn more about Anne Basting’s book, Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care, and her Creative Care Imagination Kit on her website here. Learn about Anne Basting’s nonprofit organization, TimeSlips, at its website for information on services, resources, and ways to get involved. Also find TimeSlips on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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    Better Now than Never: Quit Smoking to Reduce Your Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease


    Researchers have produced many studies on how smoking affects parts of the body, such as the lungs or heart, but what about the brain? In today’s podcast, Adrienne Johnson, PhD, discusses her research on cigarette smoking and risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As part of a 2021 study, she found a person’s risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease can be affected by how recently they’ve smoked. Diving into her research, the effects of smoking on different communities, and resources to support current smokers as they quit, Dr. Johnson details the impact of smoking on the brain and her hopes to develop new interventions to motivate smokers to quit for good. Guest: Adrienne Johnson, PhD, assistant scientist at the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention Episode Topics 1:17 What sparked your interest in studying the effects of cigarette smoking and, particularly, how it affects cognitive decline? 3:47 What are the effects of smoking on Alzheimer’s disease risk and/or general cognitive decline? 5:28 Why do you think there’s a difference in risk levels for Alzheimer’s disease and then for dementia? 6:27 Are there other things you can share about what you have found with your preliminary studies on smoking as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease? 8:38 You haven’t found a quantity relationship between the amount a person smokes and their risk for Alzheimer’s disesase, but rather a relationship based on smoking recency. Could you describe that further? 11:12 You’ve also done work on how there’s more disadvantaged communities that might be suffering from tobacco use compared to others. Can you speak on that? 13:01 How can caregivers and/or family motivate or support current smokers so that they can quit? 14:25 Is there a difference in a population that already has cognitive impairment? Do you have different strategies that we might use to support those individuals? 18:16 What are you looking to study in the future? 19:21 Can you share some resources where listeners can get help to stop smoking or where they can find resources for a loved one? Find Dementia Matters online Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Show Notes Read Dr. Adrienne Johnson’s biography on the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI) website. To learn more about the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI) and the work they do, find them on their website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Find resources on how to quit smoking here: Learn more information about smoking, vaping, and how to quit at 1-800-QUIT-NOW is a national smoking cessation quitline. Though it’s resources vary from state to state, in Wisconsin they can provide callers with free evidence-based evidence-based smoking cessation medications and a free coaching session to help you quit. is a website with a variety of resources, including texting programs, quit plans, mobile apps, and information on how to quit for specialty populations. Talk to primary care providers for prescribed medication and counseling for quitting smoking
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    Dentistry and Dementia: The Importance of Caring for Oral Health


    Elisa Ghezzi, DDS, PhD, joins the podcast to discuss the importance of maintaining oral health throughout one’s life, and especially as one grows older. Discussing the effects of oral health on our systemic health, oral health’s connection to dysphagia, and how caregivers can help dementia patients care for their teeth, Dr. Ghezzi provides insight on how vital it is to care for our oral health as we age. Guest: Elisa Ghezzi, DDS, PhD, adjunct clinical assistant professor, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, provider, Voiage Portable Dentistry Episode Topics 1:15 - How did you get interested in oral health in older adults? 3:28 - Why isn’t there more training or education in general dentistry for an older population? 4:34 - What are oral diseases, and what are their effects on systemic health? 6:00 - Is there an association between oral disease and cognition or cognitive impairment? 8:50 - IDoes inflammation affect oral health? 10:00 - What can be done to prevent oral conditions? 13:39 - What can we do to help protect our teeth? 16:38 - What should older adults and people who are experiencing dementia do about flossing? 19:05 - For our audience members who might be caring for someone who has dementia,, what recommendations would you offer when the person they are caring for is resistant to the act of having someone brush their teeth? 22:10 - What is the relationship between oral health, oral disease, and dysphagia? 28:20 - What is the most pressing issue facing older adults and their oral health care?   Find Dementia Matters online Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Vote for Dementia Matters in the 2021 Podcast Awards! Voting closes July 31st!
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    Vote for Dementia Matters in the 2021 Podcast Awards!


    Dementia Matters has entered into the 2021 People's Choice Podcast Awards! If you enjoy our show and want to support us, register and vote before July 31st at, and vote for us under the Health and People's Choice categories. We, the Dementia Matters team, hope that by participating, we can continue spreading our message and educate new listeners about Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and brain health. Our background music is "Cases to Rest" by Blue Dot Sessions. Find Dementia Matters online - Follow us on Facebook - Follow us on Twitter - Vote for Dementia Matters in the Podcast Awards -

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