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President's Message

IPA Bulletin: VOLUME 35, NO. 3 • SEPTEMBER 2018

Mary Sano, IPA President

Dear IPA members,
I want to thank the many IPA members who have played a role since our last newsletter in June to keep IPA strong and to progress toward our mission.  The President, the Executive Committee, and the Secretariat have been working on several issues in the past few months.  First, we have recommitted ourselves to serving our membership.  From our surveys, we know you value the information and knowledge you receive through our multiple communications.  These were highlighted at our recent social held at AAIC, with presentations provided by Drs. Dilip Jeste, Editor-in-Chief of our official journal International Psychogeriatrics, by our IPA Bulletin editor Tzung-Jeng Hwang, and by our digital editor, Maria Lapid.  We also know that you value the opportunity to interact and network with your international colleagues, so we offered our well-received reception at the Shedd auditorium. 

Second, members will appreciate the cutting-edge clinical translational science that serves the mental health of older persons, and the upcoming meeting “Sleep and Healthy Aging” is a perfect example of this. Sleep disturbances have been recognized among the behavioral and neuropsychiatric symptoms that most challenge quality of life and mental health, and have both high prevalence and significant negative impact as we age.  This promises to be an extraordinary symposium with world experts sharing the podium.  We hope you will join us for this and share the opportunity to experience this venue with others.  

We know our members want a voice in the important issues facing those who serve patients, and as such, we have reviewed the Spring of 2018 French Ministry of Health and Solidarity (HAS) announcement to end reimbursement of four anti-Alzheimer drugs.  IPA has prepared a thoughtful response demanding an evidence-based approach that assures that our patients can access the best treatments available without concerns for economic restriction.  IPA will continue to respond to threats of service and resource restrictions that disadvantage our patients.     

 IPA continues to be a major contributor to the work of treating older persons with behavioral and neuropsychiatric symptoms, and many of our members are key players in this area.  In June of 2018, IPA members Drs. Jeffrey Cummings, George Grossberg, and I took part in the New York Academy of Science’s symposium entitled “Psychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.”  Held at the NYAS headquarters at 7 World Trade Center, the meeting was opened by Dr. Cummings, who gave a highly integrated view of the history of codifying neuropsychiatric symptoms. Dr. Grossberg provided an overview of the “Neuroanatomic and Neurochemical Substrates of Behavioral Symptoms in Alzheimer's Disease and Implications for Treatment.”   I spoke on “Measuring Neuropsychiatric Symptoms for Diagnosis and Outcomes.” Interest in such metrics comes from both clinical and research efforts, and while tools exist, there are many gaps in our ability to assess and codify these serious problems. These gaps are apparent to many, and we have been approached to address these. The differences between specific types of neuropsychiatric conditions are an important question yet to be addressed. While we have provided a preliminary consensus on a definition of agitation in dementia, conditions such as apathy, depression, psychosis and sleep disturbance may all require clearer understanding of defining criteria, of operationalizing these criteria, and of measuring the severity and mitigation of these symptoms.     

IPA is planning an expert meeting on neuropsychiatric symptoms, which will use our established methods of creating consensus around diagnostic criteria.  We hope to bring together key stakeholders, including care providers, families, and patients, in order to create a definition that can focus on symptoms and treatments that are meaningful to patients, not just providers.  We look forward to the input from all of our members and our affiliates to address this problem with global input and solutions. I hope you will join this effort and let your voice be heard on this important topic

Acknowledgements

VCambridge University Press