New Thinking About Thinking

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A semi-annual publication of Keep Memory Alive in support of the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute.

Text of New Thinking About Thinking


    PLAYBOOK FOR CARE Famous Razorback writes of wifes illness

    FISH/OMEGA 3show promise for prevention


    Volume 1


  • MESSAGE: From the Chairman

    If you buIld It, they will comeTheres a new field of dreams in Las Vegas, except this one is designed by frank gehry instead of Kevin costner. The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute located on the 61-acre parcel of land known as union Park in downtown Las Vegas, is now rising out of the desert. The institute aims to be a medical and scientific center of excellence for treating neurodegenerative brain diseases. The architectural blueprint that began as a dream will soon become a reality.I never doubted that we could build a world-class brain institute in Las Vegasthis is the city of the possible. The pioneering spirit that exists in this spectacular southwest community takes the possible and makes it extraordinary.

    If you build it, they will come and they are coming. The researchers who have signed on to this project are national and international leaders in their fields, including our President and cEO Zaven Khachaturian, Ph.d. In the 1970s, he assumed a key role with the National Institutes of health (NIh) as the director of the Office of Alzheimers Research. he was responsible for creating new programs of scientific study concerning brain aging and Alzheimers disease, which prior to that time was not a priority for the NIh. for nearly 20 years, dr. Khachaturian was a leader in developing the current infrastructure for Alzheimers research, and helped develop the scientific careers of many who have become prominent leaders in the fields of brain aging and Alzheimers research. Now, he is introducing these doctors and researchers to Las Vegas.

    The members of LRBIs scientific Advisory Board include Nobel Laureate Paul greengard, Ph.d.; prominent neurologists Ron Petersen, M.d., Ph.d.; John Trojanowski, M.d., Ph.d.; Virginia Lee, Ph.d.; Ann Young, M.d., Ph.d.; and the researcher who discovered the gene that causes huntingtons disease, Nancy Wexler, Ph.d.

    If you build it, they will comeThe think-tank sessions that have been conducted by the LRBI are attracting researchers in the fields of

    neurodegenerative brain diseases from throughout the world. In 2007, the institute hosted the second meeting of the us-Eu Task force on Multi-domain Interventions for Prevention of dementia. This group is planning a multisite, multinational clinical trial on prevention involving nearly 5,000 volunteers from Europe and the u.s.

    if you believe the impossible, the incredible can come true.

    The Leon Thal symposium on the Prevention of dementia examined ways to change the current standard of therapy development for dementia. The participants included physicians and scientists from as far as quebec, canada, (serge gauthier, M.d., and Judes Poirier, Ph.d.) and france (Bruno Vellas, M.d., and Jacques Touchon, M.d.). They also came from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Richard Wurtman, M.d.), harvard Medical school (Bradley hyman, M.d., Ph.d.) and Johns hopkins university (Marilyn Albert, Ph.d.). These distinguished doctors, among others, converged in Las Vegas because, like me, they believe these important collaborations will result in a cure for dementia and other memory disorders.

    If you build it, they will come were not only keeping memories; were making them. In the spirit of New Thinking About Thinking, I will remember this in this field of dreams, if you believe the impossible, the incredible can come true.

    Thank you for your support,

    Larry Ruvo, founder


  • COntEntS

    21 20


    MAgIcIANs Of ThE cENTuRY 09 seigfried and Roy One Night Only

    PLAYBOOK fOR cARE 10 famous Razorback Writes of Wifes Illness

    BuRYINg ThE cAREgIVER BEfORE ThE PATIENT 13 An Intimate Look at the Ruvo family

    fROM WAshINgTON 20 senate Majority Leader harry Reid

    REsEARchERs hONOREd 25 first Three Recipients of Tomorrows Leaders in Alzheimers disease Research designation


    MEssAgEs 02 from the chairman 04 from the President

    MEET ThE dOcTORs 08 dr. charles Bernick, M.d. 18 dr. Nancy Wexler, Ph.d.

    TIPs 12 Where did I Put My Keys? 19 fishy About Reduced dementia Risk

    hOW cAN YOu hELP 15 The gift of Memory 24 hope Takes shape

    EVENTs 06 Power of Love gala 16 Rodeo at shakespeare Ranch 21 New Thinking About Thinking celebration




    nEw tHInKInG ABOUt tHInKInG KEEP MEMORY ALIVE Semi-Annual Publication 888 Bonneville Ave. winter 2009, Volume 1 Las Vegas, nV 89106

  • UPDAtE: From the President

    The symposium focused on changing current models of therapy development for the diseases of dementia. This think-tank-style workshop focused on four independent work groups, comprising many of the worlds leading dementia researchers, who discussed how to accelerate the process of discovery, development and validation of treatments for dementia prevention.

    The work groups examined concerns and obstacles that are deterring effective therapies. discussions focused on whether researchers have the correct target, whether current study designs and analytical methods are adequate and/or appropriate for prevention trials, and changes that should be made on public policies that govern drug development and/or patents that would hasten effective drug therapies.

    The findings from this think tank drew many interesting conclusions: since it is unknown when and how dementia and Alzheimers disease (Ad) actually begin, no validated biomarkers exist to indicate the presence of brain neurodegeneration until symptoms are evident.

    The need to demonstrate efficacy for therapies targeting the causes of the disease are vital to prevention.

    These are two primary scientific hurdles to overcome for the successful prevention of dementia. It has been recommended that the National Institutes of health (NIh) grants-review

    process be modified to support long-term or high- risk projects to allow scientists to study potential, but symptom-free, dementia subjects. This will allow researchers to better understand the basic biology of Ad, including greater reliability in identifying early symptoms; cognitive measures that are sensitive to change in mild disease; and the effect of changing lifestyles, medications and lifestyle adaptations as management of mild dementia undergoes further development.

    Because of the long-term nature of effective Ad drug trials, and the risk that the patent life of a drug will be exceeded, it is also suggested that current patent protection laws be modified so as not to impede incentives for drug development.

    Additional recommendations include the need to increase the efficiency and capacity of integrated clinical trial networks so researchers can share and build upon knowledge. further, poor Medicare and other third-party reimbursement is resulting in poor clinical care efforts. The report generated from the work groups also discusses potential economic incentives to stimulate therapy development such as a commitment from the center for Medicare and Medicaid services (cMs) to make subjects recruited for longitudinal and other Ad research studies eligible for reimbursement. This is only the beginning of an ongoing series of think tanks that intends to aggressively explore and blaze a successful roadmap. The bounteous baby boom generation is aging and new treatments must

    ANEWTITlEANdnew discoveries

    NEWTHINKINGABOUTTHINKINGthe newly entitled publication for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute intends to shake up common models of scientific research in the hopes of expediting prevention therapies and cures for neurodegenerative brain diseases. This was the focus of the Leon Thal symposium (LTs) for the Prevention of dementia in december 2007.


  • become available to curtail the impending tsunami of incapacitated dementia and Ad suff erers. There is a need for further examination of our current assumptions and paradigms for therapy development, and this report represents a critical starting point.

    In order to further refi ne and expand the proposals presented in this inaugural report, the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute will reconvene the LTs on december 7-9, 2008, in Las Vegas, Nevada, further expanding the recommendations

    of the inaugural report. The objective: develop a national roadmap for action.

    In collaboration with the Alzheimers study group (Asg), specifi c recommendations will be developed for public policy initiatives to prevent or slow the progression of dementia. The National Alzheimers strategic Plan intends to present these recommendations to the 111th united states congress and the New Administration in March 2009.

    Alzheimers Study Group Members:Christine Cassel, M.D. Geriatrician and President, American Board of Internal Medicine; Meryl Comer, President, Geo rey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative; Newt Gingrich Founder, Center for Health Transformation (ASG Co-chair); Steven Hyman, M.D. Provost, Harvard University; Bob Kerrey, President, The New School (ASG Co-chair); Henry McCance, Chairman, Greylock Partners; Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Brookings Institution; Sandra Day O'Connor Justice, The U.S. Supreme Court (