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Submit new research as a poster proposal for AAGP's 2015 Annual Meeting
AAGP
AAGP invites physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, students and others to submit a research poster proposal for consideration for the 2015 Annual Meeting to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 27-30, 2015. The theme of the meeting is Interprofessional Practice: Working Together to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Older Adults. Research poster proposals are due in October.
  • New Research Posters due Oct. 1
  • Early Investigator Posters due Oct. 16
Learn more and submit abstracts at www.AAGPonline.org/2015CFP.
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AAGP's Vanderbilt and Disque to leave Aug. 1
On Aug. 1, two long-time staff members will leave AAGP. Marj Vanderbilt, acting CEO and Director of Government Affairs, is retiring after 14 years with the association. Ms. Vanderbilt joined AAGP in 2000 to head up the association's advocacy work with Congress, federal agencies, and liaison groups, as well as coordinate the AAGP Political Action Committee. Her dedication and optimism helped establish many far-reaching victories for the association, including Medicare parity, a geriatric psychiatry identifier, and an IOM report on the geriatric mental health care workforce. In the past few years, Ms. Vanderbilt has taken on Annual Meeting roles with great success, including the exhibit hall, sponsorships, and industry-sponsored symposia. As the staff liaison for many of AAGP's committees and caucuses, Ms. Vanderbilt has worked closely with the membership.

In recent years, Denise Disque, AAGP's office manager since 2006, has assumed key roles in Annual Meeting program work, such as managing the session and posters abstracts system, working with session faculty, coordinating the speaker ready room, and handling registration. Ms. Disque has been a vital contact for members, responding to a variety of requests regarding membership, publications, and continuing education. With flexibility and competence, Ms. Disque has been a valuable member of the AAGP team.

Also, effective Aug. 1, AAGP's new contact information will be:

American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
6728 Old McLean Village Drive
McLean, VA 22101
Phone: (703) 556-9222 Fax: (703) 556-8729
Website: http://www.aagponline.org

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more important updates and news from AAGP.

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AAGP call for nominations for board director and officer positions: Applications due July 31
The AAGP Nominations Committee is seeking qualified candidates to run for director and officer positions in the 2014 election. All candidates must have a minimum of three years in the organization to be eligible to run. Officer positions are open to Psychiatrist Members and Retired Members. One non-psychiatrist board director position is also open.

Five positions on the AAGP Board of Directors will be open at the conclusion of AAGP's 2015 Annual Meeting in New Orleans:
  • President-Elect
  • Secretary/Treasurer-Elect
  • 2 At-Large Board positions (psychiatrist member)
  • 1 At-Large Board position (non-psychiatrist member)
For more information about board and officer responsibilities, desired criteria, and application forms go to www.AAGPonline.org/election.

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Scholars fund: Join the growing list of supporters
The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation is seeking donations for the Scholars Fund to support the 2015 Scholars Program held in conjunction with the AAGP Annual Meeting in New Orleans in March (www.AAGPmeeting.org). The program introduces trainees to the field of geriatric psychiatry and highlights various career paths and opportunities. For the 2014 program, the Scholars Fund supported 27 Honors Scholars and 14 Scholars (5 residents and 9 medical students). For the 2015 program, four individuals have already donated $2,500 each to provide four Honors Scholars with full benefits: travel, lodging, and registration for the AAGP conference and AAGP membership. Total donations for the Scholars Fund for the 2015 program are now over $19,000. Please consider donating any amount to this valuable program. Donations received by Sept. 30 will be used for the 2015 program. Learn more and donate at www.aagponline.org/donateScholars.


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Study: 1 in 3 Alzheimer's cases 'preventable'
WebMD
About one-third of Alzheimer's disease cases are preventable, according to research by the University of Cambridge, England. The study identifies seven risk factors, with lack of exercise topping the list.

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Sleep disorders may raise risk of Alzheimer's, new research shows
The Washington Post
Sleep disturbances such as apnea may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, while moderate exercise in middle age and mentally stimulating games, such as crossword puzzles, may prevent the onset of the dementia-causing disease, according to new research.

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Inexpensive Alzheimer's tests offer promise
USA Today
To confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer's today, a patient either needs a painful spinal tap or a costly brain image. But several detection tools under development offer the promise of at least ruling out Alzheimer's easily and inexpensively in a doctor's office.

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CMS issues 2015 Medicare physician payment proposed rule
On July 3, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its annual notice of proposed major changes in Medicare physician payment policy that would update payment policies and payment rates for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on July 11. CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until Sept. 2. The final rule is expected to be issued on Nov. 1, and implementation is scheduled for on or after Jan. 1, 2015.

The proposed rule does not include proposals or announcements on the PFS update or Strategic Growth Rate (SGR) as these calculations are determined under a prescribed statutory formula that cannot be changed by CMS. The final figures are announced in the final rule in November. The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) provides for a zero percent PFS update for services furnished between January 1, 2015 and March 31, 2015. In March (prior to the enactment of the PAMA), CMS estimated that the PFS update for Calendar Year 2015 would be -20.9 percent (a 20.9 percent reduction in reimbursement rates). In most prior years, Congress has taken action to avert a large reduction in the PFS rates before they went into effect. The Administration supports legislation to permanently change the SGR to provide more stability for Medicare beneficiaries and providers while promoting efficient, high quality care. In addition, AAGP believes that continuing the cycle of short-term patches by merely addressing the upcoming cut that will occur on April 1, 2015 without solving the underlying problem would be fiscally irresponsible and would further undermine the Medicare program. It is time for action to repeal the SGR and establish a transition to a more stable Medicare physician payment policy to better serve America's older adults. AAGP is continuing to work with the American Medical Association (AMA) and others to enact legislation to repeal Medicare's flawed SGR formula.

Some of the key issues addressed in the CMS proposal include:
  • Unbundling of the 10- and 90-day global surgical services;
  • Changes to the process and timelines for revising relative values;
  • New payment policies and rates for chronic care management;
  • Changes to the Sunshine Act regulations; and
  • Modifications to the Medicare performance-based payment programs, such as the Physician Quality Reporting System and Value-Based Modifier.
These proposals and others are outlined in several fact sheets available on the CMS website at www.cms.gov.



SAMHSA app gives responders access to critical resources
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has created a free smart-phone app to make it easier for behavioral health responders to focus on disaster survivors by providing them quick access to resources for getting help. The app was designed to meet the needs of disaster responders and was developed with input from experts from across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, and state health departments.

The app is available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry users. For more information, visit http://store.samhsa.gov/apps/disaster.



Nominations for APA Geriatric Psychiatry awards are due Aug. 15
The American Psychiatric Association's Hartford-Jeste Award for Future Leaders in Geriatric Psychiatry recognizes an early career geriatric psychiatrist who has made noteworthy contributions to the field of geriatric psychiatry through excellence in research, teaching, clinical practice, and community service, and has demonstrated the potential to develop into a future leader in the field.

APA's Jack Weinberg Memorial Award for Geriatric Psychiatry was established in 1983 in memory of Jack Weinberg, MD, to honor a psychiatrist who, over the course of his/her career, has demonstrated special leadership or who has done outstanding work in clinical practice, training, or research into geriatric psychiatry. Candidates for the award must be psychiatrists who are nominated by an APA member.

Deadline for both awards: Aug. 15, 2014. Learn more at www.AAGPonline.org/index.php?src=news&refno=123&category=AAGP%20News.



Award opportunities from the AMA Women Physician Section
The Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women, established in conjunction with the American Medical Association (AMA) Women Physicians Section and the AMA Foundation, is currently seeking innovative research proposals focusing on professional work/practice issues that affect women physicians and medical students. Recent topics have included flexible work options; gender differences in the practice patterns of obstetricians/gynecologists; and promotion and retention of diversity in medical education. The winning applicant will receive a maximum of $10,000 in order to fund their research. Applications for the 2014 program are due July 31. Learn more at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/ama-foundation/our-programs/public-health/joan-f-giambalvo.page?.

Acknowledge the physicians who have made a difference in your professional life by nominating them for the AMA Women Physicians Section (WPS) Inspirational Physician Award. The program is a unique way to recognize a professional colleague or teacher who has served a special role in your life or career. By submitting a nomination, your mentor will be issued a special certificate and recognized during September Women in Medicine Month. Nominations forms are due July 31. Learn more at www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/member-groups-sections/women-physicians-section/mentor-recognition.page.



Alzheimer's disease fellowship at the FDA
The Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has partnered with the Alzheimer's Association and FDA's Division of Neurology Products (DNP) to develop a fellowship, which will provide an unparalleled opportunity for a clinician to receive training in regulatory science at the FDA. This training at FDA will enhance the fellow’s existing clinical skillset and prove useful for the translation of research into effective treatments. The fellow will work with DNP to identify and create opportunities for collaboration with the Alzheimer's research, drug development and patient advocacy communities to advance the development of new treatments for Alzheimer's and other dementias.

For detailed information, see www.reaganudall.org/our-work/building-scientific-capacity/alzheimersdiseasefellowship/. Applications are due Aug. 31.



IN THE NEWS


New drug to prevent Alzheimer's disease enters trial
USA Today
A $140 million study by the National Institutes of Health and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly will test the medication, solanezumab, to see if it can prevent the ravages of Alzheimer's, which include memory loss and decline in cognitive function. "This is the first time we can intervene long before the extreme damage to the brain has been done," said Dr. Nunzio Pomara, a psychiatrist and director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Research Division at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. The state-funded facility in Orangeburg is one of 60 nationwide enrolling trial participants.
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Study: 1 in 3 Alzheimer's cases 'preventable'
WebMD
About one-third of Alzheimer's disease cases are preventable, according to research by the University of Cambridge, England. The study identifies seven risk factors, with lack of exercise topping the list. A previous study published in 2011 suggested as many as half of cases of Alzheimer's disease could be prevented, but the researchers of the new study say these earlier findings are likely to be less accurate because they did not take into account overlapping risk factors.
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Cannabis, cognition and confusion in research
By Denise A. Valenti
Of the 22 states in the United States that allow for the medical use of marijuana, 13 specify Alzheimer's disease as one of the approved conditions. Some studies report benefits to AD patients, but other research is inconclusive. A suggested reason for its use is that marijuana may prove to be more effective than current treatments in breaking up the amyloid deposits that are characteristic of AD. The use of marijuana may prove to be an important aspect of treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
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New brain protein tied to Alzheimer's disease
The Associated Press via ABC
Scientists have linked a new protein to Alzheimer's disease, different from the amyloid and tau that make up the sticky brain plaques and tangles long known to be its hallmarks. The discovery could give a new target for developing drugs and other treatments for Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia. It also might help explain why many people have plaques and tangles in their brain yet show no symptoms of the disease.
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