Dr. Marilyn Albert Reported The Developments In The Treatment Of Alzheimer’s At The Jean And Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture

Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts all ages. From the more susceptible older members of the community to the millennials, who see and care for family members in various stages of Alzheimer’s, it has been a multi-generational rallying point. For that reason it was no surprise to see all ages present for the 4th Annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Marilyn Albert discussing the issue. Among those present at the Center for Vital Longevity lecture at Communities Foundation of Texas were 2016 BvB President Rachel Anderson and her teammates. Here is a report from the field:

Rachel Anderson, Catelyn Fox and Holley Caldwell*


Determining who is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease well before symptoms appear is a major challenge faced by researchers and clinicians seeking to treat this form of dementia, said Dr. Marilyn Albert, Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, who was speaking at the Center for Vital Longevity’s 4th annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture.

Currently, there is no effective way to halt the disease process in Alzheimer’s. And by the time symptoms of the disease appear, it’s too late. “We don’t currently have effective drugs that can either stop or slow down the disease’s progression,” she said during a public gathering at the Communities Foundation of Texas, which hosted the lecture on Thursday, April 27.

Dr. Albert emphasized what many in the field now strongly believe: for a treatment or prevention to be effective, early diagnosis is key. A challenge has been in accurately diagnosing the disease, and distinguishing it from other age-related brain diseases and conditions that can affect memory and behavior.

Thankfully, diagnostic tools for detecting Alzheimer’s have advanced a long way, she said, from the days of Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the German psychiatrist credited with identifying the first case in the early 1900s. With advances in imaging, such as PET scanning to identify potentially harmful plaque deposits, and improvements in cognitive and genetic testing, characteristic signs of disease can potentially be detected earlier.

Finding even more accurate or sensitive biological markers that determine risk perhaps decades before onset could have profound impacts on public health down the road, she said. In the meantime, adopting lifestyle changes that improve cardiovascular health (which is closely connected to brain health) might help, along with staying mentally and socially engaged.

Doug and Cassie Crosby*

Earlier in the evening, Dr. Albert met with members of the Director’s Research Circle, in a reception attended by UT Dallas Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal, and members of the CVL advisory council.

Guests included Rachel Anderson, Catelyn Fox and Holley Caldwell, with BvB (formerly Blondes vs. Brunettes), an organization raising funds for Alzheimer’s research and awareness, as well as CVL supporters Dr. Doug and Cassie Crosby, past AWARE president.

The next Jean and Bill Booziotis Lecture is slated for April 2018. For more information on how to join CVL’s Director’s Research Circle, please visit: http://vitallongevity.utdallas.edu/support/.

* Photo credit: John Michael Bruno

Despite Rain And Change Of Location, AWARE Affair Was Celebrating The Moment(s)

As if on cue, the unscheduled rains started falling as the AWARE Affair Celebrating the Moments guests started arriving at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, April 9. The good news was that the valet arrival was at the covered porte-cochere.

But for some folks, it was a little bewildering. The invite had reported that the event was to take place at the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom. Still guests like Ramona Jones, Kay and Jim Hammond, Jennifer and John Eagle, Carol Seay and Kristi and Ron Hoyl were directed to the Atrium, where purple-and-white balloons floated and silent auction items filled tables. Evidently there had been a change of plans after the invites had been issued, and the dinner had been moved to the Stemmons Ballroom.

Kay Hammond and Margaret Guerlein

Kay Hammond and Margaret Guerlein

Ron and Kristi Hoyl

Ron and Kristi Hoyl

Someone commented that the Troy Aikman-United Way event was supposed to be taking place at that very moment at Klyde Warren Park. Luckily, word had it that a back-up plan was in place to move the whole thing indoors.

No problem. Venise Stuart, who had chaired the Les Femmes du Monde in October, was fresh off a day of commandeering the Park Cities Historical and Preservation Society’s home tour. Venise was all smiles. Seems that despite a drip-drop during the day, the tour had missed the heavy downpour that was taking place during the AWARE fundraiser.

Larry and Venise Stuart

Larry and Venise Stuart

Don Hammond and Sandi Chapman

Don Hammond and Sandi Chapman

BrainHealth’s Sandi Chapman was thrilled with the turnout. After all, the evening was benefiting BrainHealth in addition to Baylor AT&T Memory Center, Jewish Family Service, Juliette Fowler Communities, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Center for Vital Longevity, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation and Texas Winds Musical Outreach.

2015 Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer were looking forward to the 2016 Zoo To Do. They were betting that the triumvirate of Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy would beat their total. When asked if the newly arrived elephants naming might be up for bid, Cindy reported that the naming of the elephant newbies had already taken place. Well, darn.

Chuck and Cindy Gummer

Chuck and Cindy Gummer

Sarah and Alan Losinger and Carol Seay

Sarah and Alan Losinger and Carol Seay

But this evening was not about elephants or the weather. It was to honor Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Sarah and Alan Losinger and Gail and Bill Plummer, as well as Honorary Chair Bob Miller. It also provided the opportunity to hear blonde Amy Osler tell how just a couple of years ago, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 50.

Dr. John Gabrieli Explains Why “Two Brains Aren’t The Same” At 3rd Annual Jean And Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture

Those folks who consider the brain to be the next frontier seem to be growing in numbers by the scores. A crowd of ’em were brought together by the Center for Vital Longevity at Communities Foundation of Texas on Wednesday, April 6, for the third annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture featuring Dr. John Gabrieli. It was a fascinating night for the guests and their gray matter. Here’s a report from the field:

Just like people, no two brains are the same.

That was the message that sank in at last night’s annual public lecture hosted by the Center for Vital Longevity, the neuroscience group at the University of Texas at Dallas dedicated to studying the aging mind.

Hobson Wildenthal, Michael Rugg, Denise Park and John Gabrieli*

Hobson Wildenthal, Michael Rugg, Denise Park and John Gabrieli*

The Center for Vital Longevity (CVL) held its third annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture at the Communities Foundation of Texas, welcoming Dr. John Gabrieli, the Director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for a public talk on “neuroindividuality.”

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 Booziotis, Dr. Gabrieli highlighted what principles of brain organization are consistent across individuals, and how brains vary across people due to age, personality, and other dimensions of individuality.

Nearly 300 guests attended the talk at the Communities Foundation of Texas, whose architecture was conceived and designed by Mr. Booziotis.

Ginny and Richard Lombardi*

Ginny and Richard Lombardi*

Touching on personality types, gender and culture, and the way these differences influence how our brains interact with the world, Dr. Gabrieli described how such hard-to-quantify factors might be better understood through imaging. Dr. Gabrieli shared current research on just how varied individuals of different ages can be in their integration of feeling and memory.

While age is very important, it is just one factor, Dr. Gabrieli said.

The amygdala – an emotional center in the brain often associated with fear – tends to activate differently in extroverts and introverts, he said. Extraverts tend to have more active amygdalae in response to positive information, such as a happy face, while introverts’ amydalae appear to be more active when processing negative information, such as an angry face.

Whether a person perceives situations from a “glass half-full or half-empty” perspective also depends on familial upbringing and any history of depression, he said. Ultimately, accounting for people’s individuality, with the help of imaging, is crucial in determining the best path for treatments that might have the fastest impact, he added.

Several generations attended, including students and staff from The Hockaday and Greenhill schools, and Williams Prep.

“Dr. Gabrieli’s lecture was enlightening and offered all in the audience insight into how complex and varied people’s brains are, reflecting factors such as personality type and cultural background,” said CVL Director Dr. Michael Rugg. “We were delighted to bring this lecture to the community at-large. We are very grateful to Dr. Gabrieli for visiting Dallas to share his research in such an accessible way.”

His talk was preceded by an evening reception of the CVL Director’s Research Circle, attended by among numerous others including Jannah Hodges, Chela Abdallah and retired CFO at the U.S. Department of Education and current chair of the Center’s advisory council Larry Warder.

The Center for Vital Longevity at UT Dallas was founded in 2010 by Dr. Denise Park and has grown to six labs in the last six years, becoming an international center for studying the aging mind. It is home to more than 50 staff members, researchers and faculty.

* Photos provided by the Center for Vital Longevity

Round Robin September 18: Harvest And Center For Vital Longevity Fifth Anniversary Dinner

Scrambling through the 2015 fall season requires juggling event coverage. On Friday, September 18, recruits were put into play to provide coverage of a couple of fundraisers benefiting tummies and gray matter. Here are a couple of reports from the field:


Dallas Farmers Market’s Shed 1 was once again the site for Harvest benefiting the North Texas Food Bank. Event chair Blake Stephenson, with husband Tom, were joined by honorary chairs Steve and Anne Stodghill and over 400 guests for the second annual event.

As guests arrived, DJ Lucy Wrubel set the vibe as she departed from her signature music mix, choosing instead country music befitting of the open-air venue decorated with warm fall hues complete with “farm” tables, mini pumpkins and votives.

Many partygoers were delighted to see NTFB’s Jan Pruitt at the event after hearing earlier in the week that she was out of town seeking medical treatment at MD Anderson.

With the Shed’s giant fans keeping the space cool, guests headed immediately to sample the small plates featuring fare from some of Dallas’ favorite chefs and restaurants. Some highlights included Princi Italia Chef Kevin Ascolese’s south Texas wild boar tortellini, The Ritz-Carlton Chef Chris Southwick’s ahi tuna tartar with pickled jicama, sunflower seeds and cilantro chutney, Savor Gastropub Chef John Coleman’s chili braised short ribs with fall squash puree, charred apple and smoke pecan gremolata, Parigi owner and chef Janice Provost’s eggplant parmesan. A couple of chefs brought out their soups with Stocks & Bondy’s owner and chef Joanne Bondy serving burgundy beef broth with perigord truffle tartalli and The Porch’s Chef Adam West offering cucumber-buttermilk soup with pickled local vegetables. Sweets were not forgotten with Haute Sweets Patisserie’s gourmet cookie bar and Remedy’s caramelized coconut ice cream with smoked almonds and dark chocolate.

Those not dining could be found in the silent auction bidding on an array of fashion, sports, dining and beauty packages, as well as opportunities to provide meals for NTFB clients.

Around 8:30, a small stage was moved to the center of the room so Stephenson could welcome attendees and thank them for their support of HARVEST. While the open-air shed made the acoustics a bit challenging, long-time NTFB supporter and board member (and last year’s honorary co-chair) Katherine Perot Reeves then took the stage to extend her thanks to Stephenson and the Stodghills for their part in making the evening possible, as well as recognizing the chefs, sponsors and in-kind donors. She also announced that on North Texas Giving Day, which was held the day before, over 2400 donors had contributed to NTFB making 1.44 million meals possible for the clients the agency serves.

Mike Jones then took the stage to get the live auction going with “fund the need” – asking patrons to provide funds for specific programs and needs such as providing nutritious food for students for an entire year through the Food 4 Kids Program at the $500 level or providing twenty seniors with groceries, fresh produce and pet food for one year for $2,500.  Then it was time to bid on the three live auction packages — a Pinehurst Resort Golf Package; five course dinner for ten with wine pairing at the home of renowned chef Kent Rathbun and a one-of-a-kind basketball fan experience with 18 luxury suite tickets for a Mavs or Stars game as well as the opportunity for four adults and two kids to shoot baskets with former Dallas Mavs point guard Derek Harper.

As guests went back for a final round at the food stations, DJ Lucy then switched gears – keeping the party going on the dance floor for a couple more hours.

Upon leaving, everyone received a burlap NTFB goodie bag with a trio of Pendery’s Spices, Paula Lambert’s “Cheese, Glorious Cheese!” cookbook, an NTFB T-shirt and the current issue of Modern Luxury.

HARVEST guests also included Eric Reeves, Jennie and Stuart Reeves, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Barbara Buzzell, Joyce Goss, Lynn and Allan McBee, Nancy Gopez, Michelle and Bill Lockhart, Kristie Ramirez, Jennifer and Tom Karol, Rachel and Chris Trowbridge, Heather and Malcolm Hicks, Heather Randall, Christina and Allen White and Mary Martha and John Pickens.

Center For Vital Longevity Anniversary Dinner

UT Dallas’ Center for Vital Longevity held a five-year anniversary dinner party at the Highland Hotel that included many party-goers who have supported the Center since its inception in 2010. Just five years ago, CVL opened its doors with a kick-off that included Gov. Rick Perry as well as many Center community supporters and University officials.

Joining in the celebration of the Center’s anniversary and its national stature as a leader in the study of the aging mind was Dr. Reisa Sperling, a world-renowned researcher in Alzheimer’s Disease from Harvard University, who is leading a national study on early intervention for still-healthy individuals at high-risk for Alzheimer’s.

Denise Park, Reisa Sperling and Michael Rugg*

Denise Park, Reisa Sperling and Michael Rugg*

To thank her for her work in leading a broad-based research effort toward earlier diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s, Dr. Michael Rugg presented Dr. Sperling with CVL’s Award for Distinguished Research in the Science of the Aging Mind.

A cast of supporters turned out, too, to recognize the accomplishments of a Center that has quickly achieved impressive marks for scientific achievements.

Nancy Shutt and Bill Booziotis*

Nancy Shutt and Bill Booziotis*

Norm and Chela Abdallah*

Norm and Chela Abdallah*

Members of the CVL Director’s Research Circle who attended the anniversary dinner included Circle Chair Bill Booziotis with Nancy Shutt, as well as Jannah Hodges, Steve and Linda Ivy, Nancy O’Neil and Dr. John Stilwell, Mary Susan Barnhill and Norm and Chela Abdallah. UT Dallas President ad interim Hobson Wildenthal also made remarks.

To name a few of the Center’s achievements: CVL scientists have published over 126 scientific articles in the past five years and the publications of its faculty have received more than 30,000 citations in scientific literature; CVL’s faculty together have won a total of 15 highly competitive grant awards from the National Institutes of Health; and two of its postdoctoral fellows have each received a generous “Path To Independence” award in a single year, when a total of only eight awards nationally were given by the National Institute on Aging in 2014.

“The Center has achieved rapid international visibility based on a series of fantastic hires of prominent scientists – most of who are in the early stages of their career. Every single faculty member has a research program funded by competitive research grants. The fact that all share the common research goal of discovering how healthy aging minds work and discovering interventions to help maintain cognitive vitality for life adds to the Center’s impact,” said the Center’s Founding Director Dr. Denise Park, who came to Dallas from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

A team of dedicated scientists at the Center, with the help of this federal funding, is using advanced brain imaging technology to uncover how the brain can adapt and remodel its function to resist some of the inevitable neural deterioration that comes with age, which for some includes the devastating changes associated with Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s in 2014, with a cost to healthcare of $226 billion. By 2050, 13.5 million are predicted to suffer from the disease as the U.S. population increases and reaches older ages.

In the spirit of giving in-the-moment, after the award was presented to Reisa, Dallasites at the Highland stepped up to potentially lower the number of future cases and defray the public health cost, by reaching into their own pockets for donations to CVL. The chairman of the advisory council, Larry Warder, retired CFO for the U.S. Education Dept., and now the COO of the O’Donnell Foundation, kicked things off with a generous gift from him and his wife, Emily.

* Photos provided by Center for Vital Longevity

Center For Vital Longevity’s 2nd Annual Jean And Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture Focused On The Oldest Old

Thursday, April 30 was slam-bang theater for the nonprofits. With summer nearing, it was pretty obvious that many were trying to squeeze in as much activity as possible before the town was abandoned for vacationing. The Center for Vital Longevity was holding the 2nd Annual Jean & Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture featuring Dr. Claudia Kawas, who spoke on the “Lessons from the Oldest Old: The 90+ Study.” If you watch “60 Minutes,” you might recall seeing her on the show.

Those folks at the Center are pretty sharp cookies. They taped the talk. If you’re interested in the determining factors associated with living to 90 and beyond, then you just might want to turn up the sound and settle back for a view of the video.

An Evening Of “Thought-Provoking Cocktails And Conversations” Proved To Be Just That Thanks To Dr. Michael Rugg

It was billed as an evening of “Thought-provoking Cocktails and Conversations.” And that’s exactly what it was, when about 60 people gathered at Museum Tower on Monday, December 15, to hear a talk about Alzheimer’s Disease by Dr. Michael Rugg, director of The Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Barbara Daseke and Steve and Linda Ivy*

Barbara Daseke and Steve and Linda Ivy*

More specifically, Rugg’s talk was called “Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia: Current Research and Future Prospects.” Looking out at the assembled guests, who included the likes of Linda and Steve Ivy and Pat and Charles McEvoy, Rugg joked, “Laree asked me to talk on this. In fact, she gave me the title.”

Laree Hulshoff*

Laree Hulshoff*

Rugg was referring to Laree Hulshoff, who co-hosted the evening with Ben Fischer for the Aging Mind Foundation, in order to gin up interest in the foundation’s upcoming fundraiser, “Living With Bob: A Salute to Robert A. Wilson.” The Feb. 21 event at The Joule, which is being co-chaired by Hulshoff, Barbara Daseke and Barbara Buzzell, will honor ex-KERA executive Bob Wilson. Bob’s son, actor Owen Wilson, is scheduled to appear at the tribute benefiting the Center for Vital Longevity.

At the Museum Tower gathering, Rugg—a leading researcher in cognitive neuroscience and human memory—offered a brief history of Alzheimer’s. He pointed out that although Alzheimer’s wasn’t “discovered” until 1906 by Bavarian psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer, people have always suffered from the disease, which involves the loss of the brain’s mental capacity with advancing age.

Michaele Rugg*

Michael Rugg*

It’s a more pressing issue these days, Rugg said, because “we are an aging society.” Today 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, he said, and 9.4 million are expected to suffer from the disease by 2035.

Interestingly, just 5 percent of Alzheimer’s patients are “destined” to get it, Rugg said, while risk factors including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure figure in 95 percent of the cases. Although nothing can be done currently to slow Alzheimer’s, he went on, researchers are working to change that by focusing on lifestyle patterns and conducting drug trials.

What about 10 years from now? By then, Rugg said, closing on a hopeful note, researchers should be able to determine who is most at risk for Alzheimer’s. And drug treatments should be able by then to slow, if not halt, the disease’s advance.

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

Aging Mind Foundation Trio Announce Plans For “Living With Bob: A Salute To Robert A. Wilson”

Overlooking the Dallas Arts District, the Klyde Warren Park, Perot Museum and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, there was no more spectacular place to kick off a new fundraiser on Friday, November 21. The spot was Laree Hulshoff’s and Ben Fischer’s palatial nest at Museum Tower.

Ben Fischer

Ben Fischer

Dr. Michael "Mick" Rugg

Dr. Michael “Mick” Rugg

Steele Cooper and Kenny Goss

Steele Cooper and Kenny Goss

Talk about the ultimate in so many ways — the views, the layout and the décor! As guests (Jeff Bryon, Kevin Hurst, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, John Clutts, Dr. Sami Arslanlar, Kenny Goss, Steele Cooper, Jennifer and Coley Clark and Center for Vital Longevity’s Dr. Michael “Mick” Rugg) departed the private elevator to the mansion-in-the-sky, it was pretty obvious who was a returnee and who was a newcomer. Those who had visited the home before immediately headed to their fav spots. The newbies just wandered throughout trying to take it all in. If they needed escorts, Laree’s two Shih Tzus were just a whisker away.

Laree and her co-chairs/conspirators “The Barbs” (Barbara Buzzell and Barbara Daseke) right-like officially revealed the creation of the Aging Mind Foundation fundraiser for the Center for Vital Longevity that will take place at The Joule on Saturday, February 21.

The evening will celebrate “Living With Bob: A Salute To Robert A. Wilson” with The Joule as the presenting sponsor.

Laree Hulshoff, Barbara Buzzell and Barbara Daseke

Laree Hulshoff, Barbara Buzzell and Barbara Daseke

Co-Chair Laree and the Barbs and Honorary Chair Bill Booziotis have also arranged for Bob’s son/actor/former S&D Company waiter, Owen Wilson, to handle the special guest duties.

According to the trio, following cocktails, a seated dinner and a presentation in the Praetorian and Mosaic ballrooms, the crowd will head to the Joule Terrace for dessert and dancing.

The evening committee includes Jo Marie Lilly, Caleen Mathura, Holly Hull Miori, Lisa Shardon, Shelle Sills and Julie Tregoning.

If The Aging Mind Foundation is new on your radar, its purpose is to “address and support critical issues unique to the aging mind including research, treatment, education and advocacy.

Bit of trivia: In addition to co-chairing the upcoming event, interior designer Barbara D. also partnered up with Laree and Ben in creating the spectacular residence.

Aging Mind Foundation’s Two Barbaras And A Laree Announce “Living With Bob: A Salute To Robert A. Wilson” With Star Power

Recently a 30-something laughed that she had recently had a “senior moment.” As the baby boomers continue their march into the 21st century and their 60’s, 70’s and future decades, “senior moments” are no laughing matter. That’s why the Aging Mind Foundation was established in 2013 — “to support organizations that are doing research on the aging mind, Alzheimer ’s disease, other dementias and overall longevity.” Its focus “is to address and support critical issues unique to the aging mind, including research, treatment, education and advocacy.”

Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff (File photo)

Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff (File photo)

With that in mind (sorry about that pun), Barbara Buzzell, Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff have put their heads together and are chairing “Living With Bob: A Salute To Robert A. Wilson.” Yes, the man who was KERA’s first chief executive and gave newspaper man Jim Lehrer his first TV job. Yes, the man who worked with Stanley Marcus, Patsy and Raymond Nasher and other legendary Dallas greats. Yes, the man who is married to photographer Laura Wilson. And, yes, the father of Andrew, Luke and Owen.

Owen Wilson and Laura Wilson (File photo)

Owen Wilson and Laura Wilson (File photo)

Since the trio has arranged to have The Joule be the presenting sponsor, the Saturday, February 21st fundraiser will take place throughout The Joule. The cocktail reception, seated dinner and presentation will take place in the Praetorian and Mosaic ballrooms on ballroom level. Then the guests will dance and dessert the night away in the Joule Terrace on the rooftop under the stars.

Oh, but there’s more! In addition to Dallas architect Bill Booziotis serving at honorary chair, Wilson son Owen will be “special guest.”

Proceeds from the starry night will benefit the Center for Vital Longevity.