5 Key Takeaways from the AAIC 2022
On July 31st 2022, Tover Co-founder Sjoerd Wennekes and Senior Researcher Claire Bernaards attended the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in San Diego, CA. They spent a few days learning and meeting with distinguished leaders in dementia science from around the world.
Tover had a booth where our team met fellow scientists, clinical researchers, and other members of the care research community. Claire and Sjoerd also spent time attending groundbreaking research presentations, seeing new technology in action, and gaining a deeper understanding of how Tover can improve the Tovertafel to improve the quality of life for seniors with dementia.
Here are five key takeaways we took away from this year’s AAIC:
1. Physical activity is effective in slowing cognitive decline
The EXERT Study, the longest-ever Phase 3 study of exercise in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), presented its results at the AAIC 2022. Findings from the study indicate that regular physical activity, even modest or low exertion activity such as stretching, may slow cognitive decline in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The EXERT Study is one of several promising and exciting studies that show an association between physical activity and a lower risk of dementia.
These results are promising for the future of the Tovertafel, which has been proven to increase physical activity significantly.
2. Non-pharmacological (non-drug) interventions are successful in treating agitation in dementia patients
Non-pharmacological interventions like multi-sensory stimulations, cognitive training, and music therapy are successfully treating dementia patients suffering from agitation.
The Tovertafel contains elements of all of these interventions, including music. During the game development process, Tover collaborates with music therapists who specialize in music and audio for people living with dementia.
One of the items we had on display at the AAIC was the Tovertafel Evening Lights game. This game helps to relax and calm agitated residents. Several senior care homes leave the evening lights game on at night for residents who get up and wander around. When seniors get out of bed and walk into the common area, they are automatically drawn to the table by the lights and sounds. Typically after playing the game for ten to fifteen minutes, they get tired and return to bed.
3. Low wages are associated with higher dementia risk
Several studies released at the AAIC Conference revealed the link between dementia and poverty. People with a lower socioeconomic status are more likely to develop dementia in older age. Socioeconomic factors that contribute to dementia risk include income, unemployment rates, homeownership, neighborhood, and household overcrowding.
Social systems and care systems are much different in the United States than they are in Europe. While at the conference, Tover staff gained valuable insight into the care system in the USA and the potential ways we can make our product more accessible to communities that are usually overlooked.
4. The consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with cognitive decline
According to a study revealed at the AAIC, eating processed foods for more than 20 percent of your daily caloric intake can lead to cognitive decline.
The presenters stressed the importance of taking preventative measures and educating the general public about these preventable risks.
Tover has contributed to knowledge on this topic and has published whitepapers that illustrate the benefits of physical activity and how to cope with challenging dementia-related behaviors.
5. Groundbreaking technology is playing an increased role in all stages of dementia
Technology played a key role at the AAIC. It is successfully being used to detect dementia in its early stages, prevent risks, support people living with dementia, and improve overall quality of life.
Some of the most impressive technological advancements on display at the conference included:
- Wearables for monitoring, risk detection, and early detection of Alzheimer’s disease
- Technical biomarkers to detect early signs of dementia
- Remote cognitive testing technology
- Gaming technology to stimulate social interaction, and/or physical activity, like the Tovertafel