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UTHSC professor helps organize international conference on dementia

San Antonio (Sept. 18, 2003) — Gustavo Roman, M.D., professor of medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC), served as an organizer and guest speaker for the First Congress of the International Society for Vascular Behavioral and Cognitive Disorders, which convened the world's leaders in the field Aug. 28-31 in Göteborg, Sweden. Donald Royall, M.D., professor of psychiatry at UTHSC, also was an invited speaker.

"The Congress addressed the important issue of dementia in the elderly as a result of stroke and vascular disease," Dr. Roman said. "It appears that prevention of dementia, including Alzheimer's-related dementia, may be possible by appropriate control of hypertension and other vascular risk factors. The more we learn, the more strongly we advocate earlier treatment of high blood pressure and other risk factors, and adoption of positive lifestyle changes including regular exercise and dietary modification."

Stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are among the vascular disorders that affect the brain. "Unfortunately, San Antonio is the U.S. city with the highest number of people with obesity, thereby increasing the risk for diabetes, hypertension, stroke and dementia," Dr. Roman said.

Dr. Roman and other Congress organizers issued a call for specialist groups, general practitioners and public health organizations to increase cooperation for earlier diagnosis and treatment of vascular risk factors that could lead to dementia. A webcast with all the plenary lectures can be found at: http://www.prous.com/VAS-COG2003/.

Contact: Will Sansom