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25th AAGP Annual Meeting in Los Angeles a success
AAGP
AAGP's Annual Meeting concluded in the "city of angels" on March 17 after four continuous days of educational sessions, plenary sessions, poster sessions, case-based presentations, workshops, product theaters, receptions, networking, committee meetings, and an exhibit hall. The quality of the educational programming was exceptional as planned by the 2013 AAGP Annual Meeting Planning Committee, chaired by Daniel Sewell, MD. Highlights of the meeting included a moving plenary session speech by Patti Davis who talked about her family's approach to her father, President Ronald Reagan, who had Alzheimer's disease. A second plenary session hosted by then-AAGP President Paul Kirwin, MD, consisted of the members of the IOM panel that examined workforce needs of older adults with mental illness and a spirited discussion ensued on the impact of the recommendations of AAGP members. Education sessions covered diverse topics such as treatment strategies for prolonged grieving, advances in the science of capacity assessment, enhanced mental health treatment for vulnerable seniors, and more. Overall, there were over 50 concurrent sessions offered to attendees. The meal symposia were all well attended and dealt with critical clinical topics on new and emerging developments in geriatric depression, technologies to advance the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, and a balanced approach to the long-term management of the behavioral and psychological symptoms in Alzheimer's disease.

AAGP members were able to engage with poster authors twice — with one poster session featuring the work of established investigators and a second poster session focused on early investigators. The latter poster session including a record-breaking number of accepted posters and included poster rounds and, for the first time, competitive cash prizes for the highest scored posters. In addition to the poster sessions, the activity in the Exhibit Hall included interactive exhibits providing product information to the attendees as well as four product theaters featuring presentations to help clinicians in their practices. The meeting offered continuing education for physicians, nurses, social workers, and psychologists. Work has begun on the AAGP 2014 Annual Meeting, which will take place in Orlando, Fla., March 14-17, 2014. Look for the Call for Presentations to open at www.AAGPmeeting.org on April 15.
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AAGP values its trainee members
By Donovan Maust, MD, Member-in-Training board member
The 2013-2014 AAGP Board of Directors. Donovan Maust, MD,
standing, third from left.
It is a great pleasure to write after this year's AAGP Annual Meeting in beautiful Los Angeles. While there are a number of things I could write about (I see future eNews pieces!), the overwhelming impression I take away from the Annual Meeting — again — is what a remarkably open and welcoming organization this is to trainee members.

As the Member-in-Training board member, I attended the AAGP Board meeting that occurred prior to the start of the Annual Meeting. Issues related to training and trainees occupied a significant amount of discussion time, starting with the IOM report on the geriatric mental health workforce. As the day continued, we learned that Ilse Wiechers, MD, MPP — an early career psychiatrist who just recently finished her fellowship at Yale — will become the new chair of the AAGP-PAC. We learned about the continuing tremendous success of the Scholars Program. In 2010, I was fortunate to be part of the first cohort of 7 Honors Scholars supported by $19,000 donated by AAGP members. This year, the remarkable generosity of AAGP members raised over $72,000 to support 22 Honors Scholars and 13 general scholars.

Of course, the Board Meeting wasn't entirely devoted to trainees. Topics ranged from the organization's financial position and organizational policies — affirming my decision to not become an accountant or lawyer — to congressional testimony on the use of antipsychotics. But by the day's closing comments, the focus returned once again to trainees. First, from Dan Sewell, MD, the chair of the 2013 Annual Meeting Program Committee: "Please reach out to medical students and trainees you see — make sure they feel welcomed." And second, from Paul Kirwin, MD, past AAGP president: "Make sure you attend the Early Investigator Poster Session to help support the research efforts of our young members. It means a tremendous amount to show your interest in and support of their work." After all that had been covered before, this organization's leadership returned to the theme of supporting its trainee members.

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TRENDING ARTICLES
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AAGP thanks its sponsors
The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry wishes to thank the companies that sponsored the 2013 Annual Meeting including:
  • Accera: Product Theater
  • Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Product Theater
  • Forest Laboratories, Inc.: Cyber Café, Product Theater, Supported Meal Symposia
  • Lilly USA, LLC: Supported Meal Symposium, March 14 Opening Plenary Session
  • Novartis: Product Theater
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. and Lundbeck: March 14 Opening Plenary Session
  • Geriatric Mental Health Foundation: Scholars Program

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AAGP President Steffens anticipates needs from a 'silver tsunami'
UConn Today
The University of Connecticut writes how the chairman of the psychiatry department at the UConn Health Center, David C. Steffens, MD, MHS, is working to galvanize research and clinical resources to address the "silver tsunami" — the burgeoning need for mental health services for older adults. Steffens is the new president of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, having started his term at the conclusion of the AAGP 2013 Annual Meeting on March 17. The UConn article details how Steffens, as AAGP president, hopes to lead the association in drawing attention to the impending problem of a clinician shortage. Steffens explained, "there is a clear role for geriatric mental health specialists, but we need primary care clinicians on the front lines who are well trained in geriatrics."
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    2 percent cut to Medicare physician payments mandated by federal budget sequester will begin April 1
    The across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester took effect on March 1, and the implications for the health care sector are vast. Doctors and hospitals will see their Medicare payments cut, drug companies will likely have to deal with approval delays from the Food and Drug Administration, and cuts to the National Institutes of Health could pose a major setback to medical research. While Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program are exempt from the reductions, most other health programs will be impacted.

    Unless there is action by Congress, Medicare payments to doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, as well as health plans and drug plans, are to be reduced by two percent for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries on or after April 1. This means that Medicare doctors, hospitals and other providers will only be reimbursed 98 cents on the dollar for their services to Medicare beneficiaries. In order to implement the sequester for Medicare Parts A and B by April, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services need to provide one to two weeks advance notice to the claims administration contractors to give them enough time to adjust their payment systems.

    Since 2001, Medicare payments for physician services have only increased by four percent, while the cost of caring for Medicare patients has increased by more than 20 percent. A two percent cut would only widen this already enormous gap between Medicare reimbursement and the cost of providing care to older adults.

    Since the sequester has now gone into effect, the question is how long will it last. While the answer to that question is still unknown, reports are from anywhere between one month and the start of Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1). If Congress restores funding relatively soon, the impact won't be terribly severe; however, the sequester is scheduled to get steeper in later years, posing a much bigger risk to stakeholders.

    AAGP is monitoring this situation very closely and will continue to keep its members updated.

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      PRODUCT SHOWCASES
    Department of Veterans Affairs

    The Department of Veterans Affairs focuses on recruiting healthcare professionals and students throughout the US to provide the best care for our veterans. Promoting a diverse workforce and offering a wide array of employment benefits, scholarships and retention initiatives, the VA is a leader in our nation’s health care industry.
    Behavior Imaging Solutions

    Behavior Imaging Solutions, formerly Caring Technologies Inc, develops solutions to facilitate the observational, analytical and collaborative needs of Behavioral Healthcare and Special Education professionals.
    Credible Behavioral Healthcare Software

    Credible Behavioral Health Enterprise Software provides secure, proven, easy to use software for clinic, community, residential, and mobile care providers across the United States. Credible's commitment to innovation, ease of use and optimization runs throughout our software.


    INDUSTRY NEWS


    How a sleep disorder might point to a forgotten future
    NPR
    What you do while you're asleep may say something about your cognitive function later in life. Here's why. Mayo Clinic researchers report that having a condition called REM sleep behavior disorder, in which you act out dreams in your sleep, appears to be a harbinger for something called Lewy body dementia years later — at least in men.
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    FDA wants to relax approval process for Alzheimer's drugs
    HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
    In an effort to quickly develop drugs that could prevent or slow Alzheimer's, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it plans to relax the approval process for experimental medications for the memory-robbing disease. In a proposal published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, the FDA said clinical trials of people in the early stages of Alzheimer's would only need to show improvement in tests of thinking and memory.
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    Normal brain activity linked to DNA damage
    LiveScience
    Brain activity from experiences as common as exploring new locations surprisingly damages the noggin's DNA, hinting that such disruptions may be a key part of thinking, learning and memory, researchers say. This damage normally heals rapidly, but abnormal proteins seen in Alzheimer's disease can increase this damage further, perhaps overwhelming the ability of brain cells to heal it. Further research into preventing this damage might help treat brain disorders, scientists added.
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    Alzheimer's study reveals 1 in 3 seniors are dying with dementia
    The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
    A staggering 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, says a new report that highlights the impact the mind-destroying disease is having on the rapidly aging population. Dying with Alzheimer's is not the same as dying from it.
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    FEATURED ARTICLE
    TRENDING ARTICLE
    MOST POPULAR ARTICLE
    Alzheimer's study reveals 1 in 3 seniors are dying with dementia
    The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
    A staggering 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, says a new report that highlights the impact the mind-destroying disease is having on the rapidly aging population. Dying with Alzheimer's is not the same as dying from it.

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    New system can help spot sleep disturbance in people with early dementia
    The Medical News
    A new sleep pattern monitoring system has been developed by U.K. researchers to help spot sleep disturbance in people diagnosed with early dementia. The system, known as PAViS, could be used remotely by health care workers to view sleep profiles and analyze sleep patterns based on sensory data gathered at the patient's home.

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    Legislative and regulatory update
    AAGP
    As AAGP has been reporting, the country reached the edge of the fiscal cliff and the sequestration budget reductions went into effect on March 1. (See AAGP's news item of March 4 "Sequester Impacts Physician Payments".)

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    On the path to preventing Alzheimer's disease
    Brain Blogger
    Nearly 30 million people worldwide are affected by the Alzheimer's disease and the most recent estimates indicate that this number will quadruple within the next 40 years. The concern increases as AD is the leading cause of dementia, and, so far, there is no effective treatment to slow the progression or delay the onset of this malady.
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    Report: Alzheimer's disease now fastest-growing threat to US health
    Reuters
    Alzheimer's disease is the fastest-growing threat to Americans' health, while early childhood illnesses and interpersonal violence are declining in frequency, according to the most detailed research on the causes of death and disability in the country published recently. The findings of a research project show that among rich countries, noncommunicable diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes and drug and drink disorders now loom largest, while poor countries are still chiefly threatened by infectious and infant diseases, especially HIV/AIDS.
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    Tackling issues of sexuality among people with dementia
    ScienceBlog.com
    Managing the delicate issue of sexual expression amongst people with dementia is the focus of a new education resource produced by Griffith University researcher Dr. Cindy Jones.
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