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Highlights from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023

Haga clic aquí para leer este boletín en español.  

From July 16th – 20th, 2023, thousands of researchers gathered in Amsterdam for the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC).

Conference attendees presented on topics including drug development, participant diversity in research, and the role of lifestyle factors like diet and exercise in Alzheimer’s disease risk.

Several Brain Health Registry (BHR) researchers attended the conference and shared exciting findings with the broader scientific community!

BHR presentations at AAIC:


Dr. Rachel Nosheny, Co-Investigator of BHR, co-chaired a research panel about how study partners (for example, a participant’s spouse or child) can help identify changes in the participant’s memory and thinking. Anna Aaronson, a program manager with BHR, described the over 10,000 participant-study partner pairs enrolled in BHR.

Dr. Miriam Ashford, a BHR research scientist, shared a poster of findings related to one of the brain tests used in BHR. Her research explored how participant characteristics like gender, race, and memory concerns were related with assessment completion and scores.

Dr. Melanie Miller, a program director at BHR, shared a poster exploring new methods for participant selection in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative study. These strategies can facilitate inclusion of diverse participants, and can help inform clinical trial design.

Bernard Landavazo, a project coordinator with BHR, presented findings from the Mobile Toolbox Study, which aims to understand how smartphone apps can improve brain health testing. These apps hold the potential to identify changes in memory and thinking associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

New Alzheimer’s drug shows promise for slowing decline:


A recent phase III clinical trial of a drug called donanemab showed successful slowing of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease.


The trial recruited 1,736 adults aged 60-85 with early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The treatment group receiving donanemab experienced slower rates of decline over an 18-month period compared to participants who received placebo. The trial results were published in the journal JAMA.

Like the recently FDA approved drugs Leqembi and Aduhelm, donanemab targets sticky plaques of amyloid protein in the brain. These plaques damage brain cells and are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

“These findings are extremely important since they demonstrate that lowering amyloid plaques in people with Alzheimer’s disease slows cognitive decline,” said Dr. Mike Weiner, the Principal Investigator of BHR. “Furthermore, the researchers showed data suggesting that the earlier people receive treatment the better, emphasizing the importance of early detection of Mild Cognitive Impairment.”

It’s important to note that none of these drugs can cure or reverse Alzheimer’s disease progression.

Donanemab, made by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, is currently under FDA review for approval in the US.

A fraction of trial participants experienced brain bleeding, although most cases were mild. Trial participants receiving the donanemab underwent frequent brain scans to monitor for possible side effects.

“These results are expected to increase investment in the development of future treatments aimed at lowering amyloid plaques,” Dr. Weiner said. “We can expect future research to focus on development of treatments with fewer side effects, and also the development of blood tests which would replace PET scans for diagnosis.”