Emerging Concepts in Basic Science

After great success in 2016 and 2017, this series highlighting basic dementia science will be a can't-miss aspect of AAIC 2018.



The Scientific Program Committee introduced the Emerging Concepts series, an innovative aspect of the AAIC program designed specifically for basic dementia science.

One Emerging Concepts session will be held each day from Sunday to Tuesday of the conference, concluding with a panel discussion on Wednesday that includes the three session leads.

2018 Emerging Concepts Sessions

Learn more about the 2018 sessions below.

Circadian Rhythm Dysfunction and General Anesthesia in Cognition and Alzheimer’s Disease [EC-01]

Sunday, July 22 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Lead: Rashid Deane

While sleep is essential for good health, the implications of its disruption in still not completely understood. The biological clock synchronizes the sleep-wake cycle to the light–dark cycle. This homeostatic mechanism is controlled by many factors, including biological, physical and emotional. Disturbances of the sleep-wake cycle have been associated with aging, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since levels of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides in the interstitial fluid (ISF) are greater during the wake phase than that of the sleep state, disruption of sleep quality may contribute to the Aβ accumulation and AD pathogenesis. In addition, accumulated Aβ may further disrupt sleep pattern and amplify Aβ accumulation. While dysfunctional Aβ clearance is a major contributor to amyloid-β accumulation in the aging brain, it’s unclear how the sleep-wake cycle modulates these processes. Aβ peptides are cleared from brain by mainly receptor-mediated transport across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), and by ISF diffusion/bulk flow and degradation. General anesthesia (GA) has been used to study the effects of altered brain state, since it induces reversible unconsciousness, analgesia, amnesia, and akinesia. However, the role of GA on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) distribution in brain is contradictory. This session will address the bi-directional relationship between circadian rhythm and AD, the role of brain state on ISF clearance and CSF distribution and sleep disruption in brain structural changes. This should stimulate constructive discussion leading to a better understanding of circadian rhythm and AD, and therapeutic approaches to slow the on-set of cognitive decline and AD development.

Session Topic to Be Announced

Monday, July 23 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Lead: Karl Herrup

Microbiome and the Brain [EC-03]

Tuesday, July 24 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Lead: Giovanni Frisoni

A better understanding of the composition and function of the trillions of bacteria and viruses hosted in the guts of each human (a.k.a. the gut microbiota) and their cross-talk with the host’s body organs may allow figuring out the pathophysiology of diseases of yet unknown ethology. Evidence is mounting that a specific composition of the gut microbiota (GMB), i.e. one or some bacterial strains, may affect brain function and human behavior Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, depression, multiple sclerosis, and autism. The mediators of the gut-brain cross-talk are circulating mediators, either produced by microbes themselves or induced on the immune-inflammatory system, activated B- and T- cells, and the vagus nerve. The therapeutic perspectives are attractive, given the ease of access of the digestive system and modification of the composition of the gut microbiota. However, challenges are huge due to the complexity of a highly dynamic eco-system comprising up to 4x1013 microorganisms from 1,000 bacterial strains with 3x108 genes and metabolic functions relatively de-coupled from current taxonomy. This symposium will deliver an up-to-date overview of research on the role of the microbiota in human disease, and clinical and preclinical research in the AD and dementia field.

Emerging Concepts in Basic Science Series: PANEL SESSION [EC-04]

Wednesday, July 25 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Rashid Dean, Giovanni Frisoni and Karl Herrup will each summarize the Emerging Concepts in Basic Science sessions that took place on Sunday through Tuesday. Audience questions and panelist discussion in response to these questions is the main format of this session.


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