Alzheimer's blog

Meeting of the Minds focuses on dementia programs

By Angela Lunde February 4, 2014

This time of year always gets exciting as we anticipate our annual dementia conference — Meeting of the Minds. It's presented by The Alzheimer's Association and Mayo Clinic.

We've made significant strides in the last decade in helping those impacted by dementia, but it feels like we're at a watershed moment with advances in diagnosis, progress toward prevention, the emergence of evidence based non-drug therapies, state and national action toward increasing awareness and reducing stigma, along with energized cities and neighborhoods convening to design dementia friendly communities.

In this regard, Meeting of the Minds isn't just about hope for the future, it's about discovering ways to make today better. When people are provided information to better understand their experience and recognize what can be done to take charge of preserved cognitive function, evoke potential and cultivate resilience, a pivotal shift takes place — persons living with the disease, as well as caregivers, family and friends, begin to believe a good life is possible even after a diagnosis.

Here’s a bit about some of this year's presenters:

  • Alexander "Sandy" Halperin, DDS, was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's at age 60. He was relieved to have validation for the cognitive problems that were affecting his professional and personal life. Dr. Halperin has chosen to not allow the disease to define him.  He advocates that dignity, respect and inclusion are gifts worthy to each person, with or without a diagnosis.
  • Bruce L. Miller, M.D., is a professor of neurology at the University of California-San Francisco and directs the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC). He has a special interest in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and has discovered a subset of patients in whom visual or musical creativity emerges despite the progression of language and social impairment. In other words, when one part of the brain is compromised it may be possible for another part to become stronger.
  • Henry Emmons, M.D., is a psychiatrist who integrates mind-body practices and compassion into his clinical work. His teachings and programs combine movement, nutrition, natural therapies and mindfulness to help restore resilience and rediscover joy.
  • Dave Knopman, M.D., is a professor of neurology and clinical core leader at the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic.  He'll make a special guest appearance to announce a landmark cutting edge prevention trial set to launch soon at Mayo Clinic and across the country. Stay tuned for more information in upcoming newsletters and on the blog.

The conference offers an array of thoughtfully selected sessions designed for medical and care professionals, families, friends, and persons living with mild cognitive impairment or early dementia. Exhibitors including the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic HABIT (Healthy Action to Benefit Independence and Thinking) Program will provide information about upcoming research, as well as innovative therapies and quality programs. Hope to see many of you there.

"There's nothing like the experience of hope shared together." — 2013 conference attendee

Meeting of the Minds is scheduled for March, 1st, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, St. Paul, Minn. For more, visit

Feb. 04, 2014