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Dr. Claudia Kawas Speaks at 2nd Jean & Bill Booziotis Public Lecture

The Center for Vital Longevity held its second annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture at the Communities Foundation of Texas on April 30, welcoming for a public talk Dr. Claudia Kawas, a geriatric neurologist and researcher in the areas of aging and dementia.

Dr. Kawas is the Al and Trish Nichols Chair in Clinical Neuroscience and Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior and Neurology at the University of California, Irvine, where her work focuses on the epidemiology of aging and Alzheimer’s Disease, the determinants of successful aging, longitudinal and clinical pathological investigations, clinical trials, and most recently, studies in cognitive and functional abilities of the “Oldest Old.”

The Oldest Old, defined as being more than 90 years of age, is one of the fastest growing age groups in the United States. Dr. Kawas’ “90+ Study” is one of the largest studies of the oldest-old in the world with more than 1,600 people enrolled.

The participants in her study were all once members of The Leisure World Cohort Study (LWCS), which was started in 1981. The LWCS mailed surveys to every resident of Leisure World, a large retirement community in Orange County, California. Using the 14,000 subjects from the LWCS, researchers from the 90+ Study decided to ask an important question: what predicts whether people will live to age 90 and beyond?

In an evening lecture that was completely free to the public, thanks to the generosity of the late Mrs. Jean Booziotis and her husband Bill, Dr. Kawas shared answers to that question and more: How many people aged 90 and older have dementia? Are there ways to remain dementia-free into your 90s? In what ways do the brains of people in their 90s show evidence of memory loss and dementia?

CLICK HERE TO VIEW A VIDEO OF THE LECTURE

Findings from Dr. Kawas’ study were widely shared in a recent special segment on CBS News’ 60 Minutes, in an interview with Lesley Stahl.

The aim of the lecture series is to highlight distinguished scientific visitors to Dallas, and to facilitate the spread of their knowledge and research through our community, says Mr. Booziotis, a noted Dallas architect who is also a CVL advisory council member.

Another key aspect of the lectures is that they form part of CVL’s public education mission, particularly among young adults students interested in science, Dr. Rugg says.

The first Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture featured Dr. John Jonides, a memory researcher at the University of Michigan who discussed evidence-based ways one can train the mind to improve cognitive function.

 

- Alex Lyda