International Alzheimer's conference sails to Hawaii for first time - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

International Alzheimer's conference sails to Hawaii for first time

Dr. Bill Thies Dr. Bill Thies
Dr. Zaldy Tan Dr. Zaldy Tan

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Five-million.

That's the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's and for the first time, the international conference of the disease, comes to Hawaii.

Hawaii has 27,000 people living with Alzheimer's. But compared to the rest of the nation, we're at the lowest percentile when it comes to new cases. Still, like most states, we've seen a steady rise.

For more than 20 years, the Alzheimer's Association International Conference has focused on attracting scientists in this field to exchange work and eventually finding better therapies for this disease.

"We're in the early stages of an epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease and if we don't find better ways to treat it, we simply are gonna over run our healthcare system and make them not functional for everybody," Alzheimer's Association chief medical officer Dr. Bill Thies said.

For the next few days, there will be 1,700 scientific presentations. Organizers say they're glad its taking place in Hawaii for the first time.

"One of the primary reasons we came to Hawaii is that we wanted to get closer to an Asian-Pacific audience," Thies said. "We've seen that reality occur as we've seen a great increase in the number of Asian-Pacific attendees and their presenting their science."

And so far, exercise seems to be getting a lot of attention, when it comes to fighting off Dementia.

A study released on Sunday, profiling a town in Massachusetts since 1948, shows that keeping in shape, may keep Dementia away as well.

"What we found was that participants who performed even moderate levels of physical activity defined as performing house chores and yard work, things like light sports, like bowling or golfing, seem to have a reduction of risk of Dementia," The Framingham Study co-author Dr. Zaldy Tan said.

Yet another new study published Sunday, finds a diet filled with anti-oxidants, walnuts and tea may improve memory and learning.

"Ultimately Alzheimer's Disease is one of the great threats to our society, it has the potential to bankrupt our healthcare system and we simply must find better ways to treat the disease now, we can't wait," Thies said.

The International Alzheimer's Conference hosts 4,000 experts and doctors from 64 countries. The event runs through Thursday.

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