Memory loss is one of the hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. For many people who find themselves having more memory slip ups as they age, the lingering question becomes: When is my forgetfulness severe enough to be a sign of dementia?

Dementia experts will weigh in at a public talk and roundtable discussion hosted by Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute as part of its annual conference, Aging & Brain Health: Prevention & Early Detection of Dementia, on March 19 at 7 p.m.

The public event will feature a one-hour talk, Memory loss and aging: When to worry about it and what to do about it, by Dr. Howard Chertkow, a distinguished cognitive neurologist, who will share what memory mistakes adults should be concerned about and the latest evidence on what people can do to help prevent dementia. Over the last 30 years, Dr. Chertkow has diagnosed and treated patients with early stage Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and he led the team that created the internationally-adopted screening tool for cognitive loss, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).

Following his lecture, attendees will have an opportunity to direct their questions to a panel of memory and dementia experts, including Dr. Chertkow, Dr. Richard Sztramko, a geriatrician and assistant professor at McMaster University, and founder of a dementia resource, iGeriCare; Dr. Gillian Einstein, a scientist specializing in women's brain health and aging at the University of Toronto; Dr. Saskia Sivananthan, chief research & KTE officer at the Alzheimer Society of Canada; Scott Russell, chief executive officer of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto; and Phyllis Fehr, an individual living with dementia. The event will be moderated by Dr. Allison Sekuler, vice-president, research and the Sandra A. Rotman Chair at Baycrest.

Making simple memory mistakes is considered a normal part of aging. The challenge is deciding when the memory loss is abnormal, says Dr. Chertkow, Chair in Cognitive Neurology and Innovation and senior scientist at the Rotman Research Institute. While we still don't have a cure for Alzheimer's disease, people should mention any significant memory changes to their family doctor since there are drugs and therapies being developed to potentially slow dementia's onset.

Today, more than half a million Canadians are living with dementia. In less than 15 years, this figure is expected to nearly double, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Researchers have uncovered steps that adults at any age can start taking to decrease their chances of developing Alzheimer's, adds Dr. Chertkow.

This public event is part of a three-day series of presentations and roundtables that will bring together leading experts in dementia prevention and early detection to discuss the latest findings and ongoing research in the field.

Some of the research to be discussed will include:

How what we eat affects brain function and the impact of lifestyle in protecting brain health - Dr. Carol Greenwood, Rotman Research Institute

How does exercise affect the brain and our cognitive health - Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, University of British Columbia

How bilingualism delays the onset of dementia - Dr. Ellen Bialystok, York University

The future of early detection and prevention dementia research and updates from the largest dementia study in Canada - Dr. Howard Chertkow, Rotman Research Institute

A new addition to this year's program is What's Next Canada's Inaugural Innovation Day, the industry's premier event for networking, collaboration, and learning in the aging and brain health sector.

Co-produced by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), powered by Baycrest, and Mary Furlong & Associates, the Innovation Day will include:

A pitch competition where a roster of international companies will vie for the 2019 CABHI Innovation Award

This event will feature a number of the latest technologies in the seniors' sector including robotics, virtual reality, brain health assessment tools, artificial intelligence, and much more. Judges for this event include Bruce Croxon, co-founder of venture capital firm Round13, co-host of The Disruptors on BNN and CTV and former Dragon from CBC's Dragon's Den; Dr. Marc Rothman, Director at The Thrive Center KY; and John Hopper, Chief Investment Officer, Ziegler LinkAge Longevity Fund. The event will be moderated by Richard Lui, news anchor from MSNBC/NBC News, who will share his personal story on dementia.

Sessions covering the following topics:

Digital transformation, virtual reality and augmented reality - Carrie Shaw, Embodied Labs; Chris Brickler, MyndVR; Cindy Plunkett, Baycrest; and Mandy Salomon, Mentia.

Partnerships and investment in aging and brain health - Dr. Dana Plude, National Institute on Aging; John Hopper, Ziegler LinkAge Longevity Fund; Alexandra Stewart, Weston Brain Institute.

Intersection of healthcare and technology - Ginna Baik, CDW Healthcare; Ted Chang, Quanta Computer Inc. Taiwan; Jeh Kazimi, Breezie.

For more information on the 2019 Rotman Research Institute Conference, visit:

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