The 18th ARDSI National Conference was conducted at Guwahati, Assam this year on the 29th and 30th of November. The conference which was hosted by ARDSI, Guwahati chapter was attended by ARDSI members, Neurologists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and other professionals working in the field of Dementia from all over India as well as from other parts of the world.
The conference saw some renowned personalities in the field of Dementia such as Dr. Jacob Roy (Chairman, Alaheimer's Disease International, London), Ms. Janet Farell (Manager, High Dependency Dementia Service, Australia), Dr. Arvind Mathur (Principal and Controller, Professor and HOD, Department of Medicine, SN College, Jodhpur), Dr. Manjari Tripathi (Additional Professor, Department of Neurology, AIIMS, Delhi), Ms. Diana Kerr (Dementia caregiver trainer and educator), Dr. Mathew Varghese (Professor and Head, Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bangalore), Dr. Suvarna Alladi (Additional Professor, Department of Neurology, NIMS, Hyderabad, and President, ARDSI, Hyderabad), Dr. Amitabh Ghosh (HOD of Neurology, Apollo Hospital, Kolkatta).
The conference focussed on bringing in the right blend of both scientific and pragmatic information in the field of dementia. It was divided into medical sessions and care-giver sessions. While the medical session provided the participants a glimpse into the ongoing research and scientific developments in the field of dementia, the care-giver sessions dealt more with the experiential nuances of the disease. Some of the topics covered were- Risk Factors for Dementia, Clinical Spectrum of FTD, Biomarkers in Dementia, Dementia Care Essentials, Dementia Rights- Health and Legal, Music Therapy for Dementia Patients.
Some of the highlights of the conference were the sessions on Introducing the Caregiver by Ms. Swapna Kishore, in which she brought in the idea of different kinds of caregivers and the caregiver responsibilities and burden; Music Therapy for Dementia Patients which was done by Ms. Diana Kerr, which gave many new insights into music as a tool for catharsis and communication in dementia patients and the session on Dementia Rights- Health and Legal by Mr. Sudheer Mishra which spoke of the rights of Dementia patients as outlined by the constitution of India.
Some of the ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan Team also conducted and chaired sessions at the conference. Dr. Suvarna Alladi (Neurologist and President, ARDSI Hyd Deccan) conducted a session on Vascular Cognitive Impairment in which she elaborated on the disease VCI which was a milder form of Vascular Dementia. Mr. Shashidhar Komeravolu (Treasurer, ARDSI Hyd Deccan) conducted a session on Support of Family in which he outlined the importance of community support for the dementia caregiver and how this support could be harnessed. Ms. Amulya Rajan (Psychological Counselor, ARDSI Hyd Deccan) chaired a session on Developing a Dementia Friendly Community which was conducted by Mr. Babu Varghese. This session educated the audience about how awareness, caregiver counseling and patient care all go hand-in-hand as demonstrated by the work undertaken by Mr. Babu Vargehse at ARDSI Cochin.
The XVIII ARDSI National Conference which took place in the beautiful valley city of Guwahati was both intellectually and culturally stimulating for all the participants. Regionally significant souvenirs given to the speakers and chairpersons such as Assamese shawls and Assam tea, lent a uniquely ethnic touch to the event. The conference ended with a Cultural Programme and dinner which showcased the rich, colourful heritage of Assam in the form of different kinds of folk dances accompanied by live folk music.