Saturday, July 17, 2010

ICAD- huge meeting in Honolulu this past week

Well the Alzheimer's Association held its international conference this past week in Hawaii. A beautiful place for a conference I might add. Some from the NIA was there and if you were a member of ISTAART you got a savings off the price of the conference. If you went and actually had to pay for yourself the conference alone would have cost about $800 dollars. I'm not sure about everyone else but if you had to pay for your own flight,  that for example would set me back about another $900. Throw in another $800 or so for room at the Official housing of either the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beech Resort and Spa or the Sheraton Waikiki. well you get the picture if you paid for yourself to go $2500-$3000. Hopefully if you went your institution, public or private paid for you. There are also plenty of grants and rates I'm sure. It was attended by thousands. My God where does all this money come from? For some perspective, a year of Aricept, (I know it only helps a little for some and we need better meds) costs about $2000 a year. now the average cost of a home health nurses aid, that is someone to help give the family member primary caregiver a break is about $21 an hour. so at three hours a day, five days a week, that would be about $2400 for two months of home care at three hours daily.
Now from the preliminary info at least reported by Netscape, there were lots of expert work-groups. I am sorry to say that there was no cure, new actual meaningful treatment, or a 100% definitive way to diagnose the disease that was brought forth. Believe me if there was, you would be the first to know. There were lots of interesting things, a revision of our understanding of MCI, and our conceptualization of Alzheimer's, probable Alzheimer's and various other things, I will tell you about in days to come. But in the end, lots of excitement, and chatter and idea exchanging and of course networking. If you are a caregiver, nothing that is going to change you life and least in the near or intermediate future.As a physician, from what I can see, nothing truly new, lots of classification of things that will trickle down to the clinical world over the months and years, but again nothing to practical for the day to day caregiver.  New data on vitamin D and anti-oxidents, (remember when the experts met a few months ago and said there was nothing new in this realm, well maybe there is.
an exciting motorcycle Rally coming up in which researchers with Harley's, (I'm assuming they are Harley's, hmmm I don't have one but I think those set you back about 40-50K) will be riding across the country to raise awareness for research and get signatures for a petition to congress to get the ball rolling on research. It sounds fun and worthy, if I could go, I couldn't anyway, cause all I have is a car. I'm am sure you will be hearing more about this motorcycle ride It starts today in San Frnacisco and  culminates on the steps of congress and National Alzheimer's Awareness  Day in September, where the signatures will be presented. If you are fortunate enough to have a Harley and be one of the 65 riders, well it sounds like fun.
In all fairness I did not attend the conference, I can only report and translate to you the reports I read. You will find hundreds of twitters about all this over the months, national media stories, false hopes on new breakthroughs (not there yet), and plenty of publications in the scientific journals going on lots of CV's. I think if I had attended, the honest to God truth is it would have been hard for me to stay in the conference all day and learn something. I mean come on Hawaii for God's sake? That is like the most beautiful perfect weather place in the world. I'll keep you posted in future posts on all the conference proceedings I read.
I know it seems like a disconnect, you are all doing the best you can in the day to day grind, caring for your loved ones, or visiting them in the Nursing Home. Some days it is awful and you hate it, and you ask why. take breaks, I know it is emotionally devastating, as well as financially for many of you. Hang in there.
Next years meeting is in Paris by the Way. (THE Paris you know- Eiffel tower and stuff).

Addendum- (I think rooms and Airfare to Newark are cheaper and they got plenty of space for meetings for thousands of people, same with Omaha by the way.)


karen said...

I would love to attend one of these but of course never will. I look at moms medicare charges and it is over $5000.00 a month for Hospice. We don't have to pay for any of this anymore but can you believe that?

Joseph J. Sivak MD said...

Is your Mom's Medicare Covering all Hospice and everything else, related to her care?

Talking about the book with the Lake Superior wind....... a calm day