Dr. Vladimir Hachinski’s brush with royalty

Her Majesy Queen Sofia of Spain (centre) and Professor Vladimir Hachinski (left) keynote speaker at the II International Symposium on the Advancement of Psychosocial Care and Research in Dementia. Salamanca, Spain, May 12, 2014. 
(photo courtesy of Agencia DiCYT)

Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain has a special interest in Alzheimer's disease and chaired a symposium on The Advancement of Psychosocial Care and Research in Dementia with Schulich Medicine & Dentistry's Dr. Vladimir Hachinski giving the keynote address. 

The conference, held earlier this month in Salamanca, Spain, was sponsored by the Fundación Reina Sofia, CRE Alzheimer (IMSERSO), Fundación General de la Universidad de Salamanca and other organizations.

Dr. Hachinski, a world-renowned neurologist and Distinguished University Professor at Western delivered his address in Spanish on “Can we prevent or delay dementia?” He explained that stroke and Alzheimer pathologies increase with age, and that they often occur together in the same brain and may interact. 

“Lesions in the brain do not add up, they multiply making it important to control what pathology we can. Currently no treatment exists for Alzheimer's disease, except for the symptoms. On the other hand, all dementias have a vascular component, ranging from 60% in frontotemporal dementia to 80% in Alzheimer disease.  Having Alzheimer pathology and a vascular component doubles the chances of developing dementia,” said Dr. Hackinski. Currently Alzheimer's disease and brain vascular disease are being managed as if they were separate and isolated entities. 

“An alternative approach is that of vascular cognitive impairment, which is any impairment caused by or associated with vascular factors.  Vascular disease is treatable and preventable, thus identifying the vascular components of all dementias offer the possibility to prevent or delay dementia.”

Other participants included Ana Mato the Spanish Minister of Health, Benoit Lavallart, leader of Plan Alzheimer France speaking on “The French National Alzheimer’s Plan”, Marc Wortmann, Alzheimer's Disease International (AD) on “Global Dementia Policy Overview”, Eamon O’Shea, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) on  “Psychosocial interventions for People with Dementia” and among others, Maria Isabel Gonzalez Ingelmo, Director of CRE Alzheimer International.

Dr. Hachinski said he was glad to see the Queen again, whom he had met at a Symposium in Madrid in June 2013, and to return to the University of Salamanca, where he was made a Doctor honoris causa in the year 2000.