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12th Biennial Graylyn Conference on Women's Cognitive Health

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The treatment and prevention of diseases that are unique to women is a critical area of research that encompasses the entire spectrum of approaches from molecular to social, behavioral and economic endpoints. This breadth of scientific endeavors is being used to determine the age-related cognitive changes that occur in women and to identify the most effective approaches to prevent cognitive decline in women. Interactions among disciplines and between basic, clinical and health services scientists will lead to the most efficacious translational interventions designed to enhance cognitive health. The Women's Health Center of Excellence for Research, Leadership, Education (WHCoE) of the Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFUHS) began annual Graylyn Conferences of Women's Health in 1995 and in 1997 established the biennial Graylyn Conferences on Women's Cognitive Health for cutting-edge cognitive research related to women's health. The 2007 Graylyn Conference on Women's Cognitive Health explored issues specific to hormone therapy (HT) and broader issues related to women's cognitive aging. Since that meeting, clinical and basic science research has continued the goal of better understanding the results obtained in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) and the Women's Health Initiative Study of Cognitive Aging (WHISCA) and more fully exploring novel approaches designed to address the broader complex questions of age-related cognitive dysfunction in women. We plan to continue this critical and evolving dialogue among leaders in the field of women's cognitive health through the12th Graylyn Conference to be held in 2009 entitled "Improving the Trajectory of Cognitive Aging in Women through Innovative Translational Research". Invited speakers will present and critically review the current knowledge from basic to clinical research and health services research in order to guide efforts toward developing an innovative research agenda about hormonal and other therapies relevant to the advancement of knowledge in women's cognitive aging. As in the past, this conference will be relatively small (about 100 attendees) with speakers providing cutting-edge scientific presentations in themed areas. The emphasis of conference sessions will be on research from bench to bedside to community policy and practice with a translational focus. Discussions will be on how to enhance translational dialogues that include multiple disciplines, and on identifying the key directions for research on women's cognitive aging at the molecular, animal, human studies, and community outreach and practice of evidence-based medicine levels.

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Among women, cognitive aging is a critical concern that has social impact on the individual, her family, as well as an enormous economic impact. Enhancing our understanding of the problems associated with cognitive aging would assist in addressing this growing concern. This conference enables investigators from various disciplines worldwide to tackle the problem by developing new mechanisms to detect cognitive decline and develop promising treatments that may delay the onset and progression of the symptoms associated with dementia.

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