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Session and Case Presentation Abstracts for AAGP's 2014 Annual Meeting due June 11
AAGP is accepting proposals for sessions, case presentations, and posters for the 2014 Annual Meeting to be held March 14-17 in Orlando, Fla., at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld®. Submit your innovative and interactive programs targeted towards clinicians, researchers, and educators. Clinicians and investigators in all arenas of geriatric psychiatry, psychology, neurology, medicine, nursing, social work, and other related disciplines are encouraged to submit abstracts of original work for presentation at the AAGP 2014 Annual Meeting. Session proposals are due June 11. Submit online at
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Geriatric psychiatrists to receive awards at APA Annual Meeting
At the American Psychiatric Association's Annual Meeting to be held later this month in San Francisco, three geriatric psychiatrists will be honored for their work. On May 20, APA President Dilip Jeste, MD, will present awards to:

Peter V. Rabins, MD, of Baltimore. Dr. Rabins will receive the APA Jack Weinberg Memorial Award for Geriatric Psychiatry, which honors a psychiatrist who has demonstrated special leadership or who has done outstanding work in clinical practice, training, or research in geriatric psychiatry.

Carmen Andreescu, MD, of Pittsburgh. Dr. Andreescu will be honored with the Hartford-Jeste Award for Future Leaders in Geriatric Psychiatry. This new award recognizes an early career psychiatrist who has made noteworthy contributions to the field of geriatric psychiatry and has demonstrated potential as a future leader in the field.

Sophia Wang, MD, of San Francisco. Dr. Wang is one of six researchers to be awarded the APA/Lily Resident Research Award, which honors submissions of original, unpublished scientific papers.

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AAGP members in the news: Max Wallack; New York Times article on therapy
AAGP's youngest member, Boston University student Max Wallack, was recently featured in an article on BU Today, the university's website. In "A 16-Year-Old Takes on a Disease of the Elderly," Wallack's work at the Laboratory of Molecular Psychiatry in Aging at BU's Alzheimer's Disease Center is featured. In March, Wallack presented a poster at the AAGP 2013 Annual Meeting on the role CE inhibitors could play in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

A number of AAGP members — including Robert Abrams, MD; Marc Agronin, MD; Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, PhD; and Bob Knight, MD — were quoted in an article on older adults seeking psychological counseling in The New York Times. See the article titled "How Therapy Can Help in the Golden Years" online here.

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Missed the last issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    AAGP President's Column: Advancing the AAGP Mission (By David C. Steffens, MD, MHS, AAGP President)
No increased risk for death with antipsychotics in Alzheimer's? (Medscape)
How exercise and other activities beat back dementia (NPR)
Earn online CME with AAGP 2013 Annual Meeting sessions (AAGP)
Apps and online tools make tough life a bit easier for Alzheimer's, autism caregivers (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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    The Long Goodbye: An interview with author Patti Davis
    By Marc E. Agronin, MD
    In her book "The Long Goodbye" (Knopf, 2004), author Patti Davis, daughter of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, reflects on her father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease, describing it as a "thief that steals a human being like nothing else can. The only victory over it is in the realm of the soul." Davis delivered this poignant message of both the tragic and the triumphant moments in the lives of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers in her keynote talk at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry in Los Angeles, California, in March. She spoke not only about her own experiences as a loved one and caregiver for someone with dementia, but also about the "Beyond Alzheimer's" support groups that she founded in November 2011 at UCLA Hospital and has run ever since.

    One of the greatest challenges facing Davis during her father's illness after his diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in 1994 was loneliness. "We were a hugely public family," she described, "yet we felt isolated." Even in 1994 there was a great deal of secrecy and embarrassment about the disease, she lamented. At the same time, she felt a deep urge to "find" her father within the fog of the disease, to understand where his essence still resided. Alzheimer's disease itself became a powerful if not unexpected teacher, imparting lessons about caregiving and a realization about the uniqueness of each sufferer's course: "if you've seen one person with Alzheimer's disease," she learned, "you've seen one person with Alzheimer's disease." Davis spoke most passionately about how spirituality became her anchor, providing solace and the understanding that despite her father's failing health, "his soul cannot have Alzheimer's disease." Following her talk, I had the opportunity to sit with Patti Davis and learn about her experiences in more detail.

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    During Mental Health and Older Americans Month, remember the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation
    May is nationally observed as both Mental Health Month and Older Americans Month, and traditionally, May 19-25 is Older Americans' Mental Health Week. For brochures on healthy aging and late-life mental illnesses that you can provide to patients and their families, visit AAGP's bookstore at or direct patients to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation's website at for online resources and brochures. Consider celebrating this special month with a donation to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation. Donations made for general support help the Foundation maintain its web presence and create and produce consumer brochures. The Foundation's Scholars Fund introduces trainees to geriatric psychiatry by bringing them to the AAGP Annual Meeting for a special program and connecting them with mentors. Help us meet or exceed last year's fundraising total by contributing today. Click here for more information.
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    AAGP Jobs Page lists current openings
    AAGP's new online Jobs Page is currently listing seven open positions for psychiatry positions around the country. Visit to see available positions or to post a classified ad for a mental health professional.
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    Earn online CME with AAGP 2013 Annual Meeting sessions
    Online recordings and screen presentations of AAGP 2013 Annual Meeting sessions are now available. With online tests you can quickly and easily earn CME credits and print certificates to document your credits earned. CME is available for one year. Nearly 50 hours of recordings are available, and accessible to you 24/7 via the Internet in streaming media format or for download — even to your MP3 player. Audio is synchronized to the PowerPoint presentations to provide a true multimedia experience. Cost: $529 or $209 for registrants of the Annual Meeting. Visit to place your order.
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    Take the AAGP eNews readership survey
    AAGP eNews was launched in January and is emailed to the AAGP membership every other Tuesday. Please tell us how often you read this publication and how you like it by completing this short survey.
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    Senate committee approves Tavenner nomination
    On April 23, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved President Barack Obama's nomination of Marilyn Tavenner to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Tavenner has served as the agency's acting administrator since December 2011.

    Following the Finance Committee's action, Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, announced that he would block quick floor action on Tavenner over his displeasure with the Administration's shifting of money from a preventive care fund to pay for implementing insurance exchanges created by the 2010 health care reform bill. He did not say that he would block the nomination indefinitely. However, he said that he would like the administration to find other sources of funding, rather than the $332 million that he says they are taking out of the Public Health and Prevention Fund this year to fund the health care reform law's implementation.

    Since the Tavenner nomination is now blocked, at least temporarily, timing for a vote on the Senate floor is uncertain. If Harkins removes his "hold" on the nomination — thereby clearing the nomination for a vote on the Senate floor — Tavenner is expected to win the same type of bipartisan support by the entire Senate that she has enjoyed throughout the committee phase of this confirmation process. If confirmed by the full Senate, Tavenner would be the first confirmed CMS Administrator since Mark McClellan, who served from 2004 to 2006 in the George W. Bush administration. Obama's last nominee for the position, Harvard University professor Don Berwick, met strong opposition from Republicans in the wake of the contentious debate over the Affordable Care Act.

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    AAGP Jobs Page lists current openings
    AAGP's new online Jobs Page is currently listing seven open positions for psychiatry positions around the country. Visit to see available positions or to post a classified ad for a mental health professional.

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    No increased risk for death with antipsychotics in Alzheimer's?
    For years, clinicians have been warned that off-label use of antipsychotic medications to treat behavioral disturbances in patients with dementia could increase mortality. However, preliminary evidence from a new Japanese study appears to refute this tenet.

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    AAGP President's Column: Advancing the AAGP Mission
    By David C. Steffens, MD, MHS, AAGP President
    I hope that you were able to attend March's AAGP Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. By almost any measure, this was one of our most successful meetings in years.

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    Bipartisan hope for Alzheimer's Act introduced
    On April 11, bipartisan legislation, entitled the Health Outcomes, Planning and Education for Alzheimer's Act, was reintroduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House bill, H.R. 1507, was introduced by Representatives Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Chris Smith, R-N.J, and 37 cosponsors and has been referred jointly the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees. The Senate bill, S. 709, was introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and nine cosponsors and has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

    Originally introduced in the 112th Congress, the Hope for Alzheimer's Act is designed to help combat Alzheimer's disease and support those suffering or caring for a family member with this illness. The Hope for Alzheimer’s Act will help physicians detect Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in their patients earlier, and provide information for newly diagnosed patients and their families about treatment options and support programs available to them. The legislation does this by enhancing Medicare by providing a package of services specifically for the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease that includes comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and care planning services to help patients manage any other chronic conditions.

    AAGP believes that all Americans seeking treatment for mental disorders need and deserve access to the full-range of services and health care providers. AAGP has been a long-time supporter of the Hope for Alzheimer's Act and will continue to work closely with the bills' sponsors to advance it at the earliest possible date.

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    Subcommittee furthers examination of mental health system with look at federal privacy laws
    On April 26, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Representative Tim Murphy, R-Penn., continued its post-Newtown examination of the nation's mental health system, focusing on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and how its application can help or hinder patient care and public safety. Members of the subcommittee expressed concern that the privacy rule may interfere with the timely and continuous flow of health information between health care providers, patients, and families, thereby impeding patient care, and in some cases, public safety.

    "HIPAA, as initially conceived and enacted, reflected an effort to replace a patchwork of state laws and regulations impacting the confidentiality of medical information," Murphy said. "From the start, HIPAA was accompanied by considerable anxiety on the part of providers, or the 'covered entities'. Fearful of new penalties for violating HIPAA, doctors and nurses were refusing to even talk about a patient's illness with caregivers, all of whom were spouses, siblings, or those managing the affairs of an elderly parent.

    "Our goal is to peel away the numerous layers of misinformation surrounding HIPAA so that we can ensure patients are getting the right treatment and the public is kept safe. Sometimes this may involve communication with the parents or family of a patient, who often possess unique insight into their loved one's condition. At other times, it involves communication with law enforcement, so providers take the right steps to report threats of violence."

    At the hearing, Leon Rodriguez, director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, explained the ways in which HIPAA allows health care providers to communicate with family, friends and caregivers about the condition, care, or general information of a patient. Following his testimony, three additional witnesses shared personal experiences, explaining how the HIPAA rule has made it almost impossible to care for their family members.

    The Subcommittee plans to continue to examine the nation's mental health system and to then propose changes and reforms that can be initiated through legislative and/or regulatory actions. AAGP will continue to monitor these activities and will provide updates in this newsletter.

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    SAMHSA offers toolkit for those affected by Boston tragedy
    In the aftermath of the tragedy at the April Boston Marathon, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering medical professionals, first responders, family members and victims a mental health awareness toolkit to assist them with both administering or receiving mental health support. The toolkit offers specific tips for responding effectively to people in the wake of a disaster. The information is meant to help alleviate painful emotions and promote hope and healing. To download the toolkit, click here.
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    Senator Baucus to retire
    Capitol Hill was stunned on April 23 by Senator Max Baucus's, D-Mont., announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2014. Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was sure to face an uphill re-election, in no small part because of his leadership role in crafting the Affordable Care Act. He has received more blame from the health care reform law's critics than credit from its supporters. While he was never as popular among liberals as the other players who helped to pass "ObamaCare", he was just as important. Few changes were made from the version of the bill that came out of the Finance Committee, and his long courtship of Republicans — criticized at the time as an act of futility — very likely helped to bring conservative Democrats on board in support of the legislation.

    If the Democrats can maintain their Senate majority after the 2014 Congressional elections, Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is next in line to chair the Finance Committee. Wyden is known as a health care policy wonk, and his preference for competition and state innovation could well be a model for stronger bipartisanship in the Senate. However, some Senate Democrats are concerned that Wyden may be too bipartisan and point to his partnership with Representative Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., on controversial Medicare changes in 2011. There is a chance that Democratic Party leaders might want someone other than Wyden to serve as Finance chairman, and it is possible that other senators will begin to jockey for position. In the event of a Republican takeover of the Senate, ranking Republican Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would be the likely chairman.

    In addition to Baucus, seven other senators have announced that they will not run for re-election next year. They are: Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Mike Johanns R-Neb., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John "Jay" Rockefeller, D-W.V.

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    Depression linked to later vascular dementia, Alzheimer's
    A new study reveals that depression is associated with the later development of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia — a condition caused by blocked or reduced blood flow to the brain, depriving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients. The report in the British Journal of Psychiatry is an analysis of 23 prior studies that followed nearly 50,000 older adults over a median of five years. The researchers found that depressed older adults (over age 50) were more than twice as likely to develop vascular dementia and 65 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who weren't depressed.
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    Research suggests link between elevated blood sugar, Alzheimer's risk
    Medical Xpress
    A new University of Arizona study, published in the journal Neurology, suggests a possible link between elevated blood sugar levels and risk for developing Alzheimer's disease. About 5 percent of men and women, ages 65 to 74, have Alzheimer's disease, and it is estimated that nearly half of those age 85 and older may have the disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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    Mayo study: No link between anesthesia and dementia
    VideoBrief Can anesthesia from surgery cause dementia in elderly patients? That question was the subject of a recent Mayo Clinic study. Dr. David Warner, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist, said it's not uncommon for elderly patients to have dementia-like symptoms for extended periods of time after surgery.
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