Name: ARDSICON 09, XVth National Conference of Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI)
Organised by: ardsi, Calcutta Chapter
Date: 4th to 6th December, 2009
Venue: Hyatt Regency Kolkata
Registered Delegates: 230 + 50 (Caregivers Training Session), which includes the representatives of all the ARDSI Chapters.
International: 12 Speakers
NRI: 3 Speakers
National (Local): 19 Speakers
National (other states): 12 Speakers

Inauguration The three-day conference was formally inaugurated on December 4, Friday evening at about 5 pm. Dr Prabudhha Ghosh,president, Indian Medical Association, West Bengal, was the guest-in-chief. The guests-of-honour were Dr Daisy Acosta, Dr K Jacob Roy, Dr N N Sarangi, Dr Trishit Roy and Dr T K Banerjee. Dr Ghosh inaugurated the Conference Souvenir,

Dementia Solidarity. In the line of Alzheimer’s: The Mission continues, a memoir of a family care giver, Brig S. P. Bhattacharjya, was released by Dr. Daisy Acosta, Mrs Shefali Chowdhury and Dr Shyamal Sen. Another book,

Understanding Dementia: Disease, Treatment & Care, a collection of articles on the basic issues of dementia penned by professionals and experts, and edited by Prof Shyamal Kumar Das, was launched by Dr K Jacob Roy and Dr N N Sarangi.Dr Anshu Sen rendered the inaugural song and also presented a bouquet of Rabindra Sangeet at the end of the inaugural session.

Discourse The Scientific Sessions and Caregiving Sessions were held in parallel, sometimes merging in between for the Combined Sessions. Some of the foremost experts from across the world have brought their ideas and opinions to this meeting and have interacted with experts from our country.The Basics, The Challenge and Drug, Diet & Care were the topics covered in Combined Sessions. Memory & Language, Behaviour, Aphasias and Other Dementias and Case presentation were the topics covered in Scientific Sessions. The Carer Sessions consisted of Carers’ Training, Exploring Carer Resources, Dementia Care Essentials and Understanding Changed Behaviour. Professor John Hodges spoke about the assessment of memory and on the clinico-pathological features of frontotemporal dementia. Professor Andrew Kertesz told us how to assess language in patients with dementia and how aphasia batteries were best developed. Professor Kertesz also discussed the progressive aphasias. Professor Ken Nagata spoke on the current concepts and pathophisiology of vascular dementia. Professor Martin Prince discussed the 10/66 dementia programme. The conference provided the launching platform for the 10/66 Research Group in eastern part of India. A Special Training Session for professional and family carers was conducted by Peter McHale, making it particularly useful to all those who take care of persons with dementia.

Some unique features of the ConferenceTheme of the Conference: The central theme of the Conference was Dementia Solidarity. This was intended to engage as many people and sectors as possible with the urgent dementia mission, keeping in mind that tackling the ensuing dementia epidemic is a responsibility of the entire society. The aim of the conference, as manifest by the choice of the theme, was to a great extent fulfilled with the participation of scientific and medical community, professional nurses/caregivers family care givers, corporates, personalities from the field of art and culture, administrators, and common people. And most importantly, persons with dementia and their family members also attended the conference and interacted with other delegates.

Solidarity Session: To highlight the central theme of the conference, a special combined session, called Solidarity Session, was held on the second evening. Quite unique in form and content, the session was attended by national and international faculty members, delegates, persons with dementia and their family members and other people standing in solidarity with the urgent dementia social mission. The session was graced by city mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya.In the session, ARDSI Calcutta, on completion of its first decade of existence, felicitated six persons for their dedication and contribution to the dementia mission. Those who were felicitated were Mrs Nilanjana Maulik, secretary and director (dementia services) of ARDSI Calcutta, Dr Aparna Dutt, neuro-psychologist, Dr Amitabha Ghosh, neurologist, Dr N N Sarangi, president of ARDSI Calcutta, Dr P K Pooviah, geriatrician, and Mr S K Mitra, president, Axis Bank (Eastern India). The noted personalities who handed over the felicitation plaques included ADI chairman Dr Daisy Acosta and ARDSI National chairman Dr K Jacob Roy.

The session presented a charming instrumental musical – Taal Taranga – by physically challenged and differently able students of Manovikash Kendra.

Social Forum:
With the central theme of ARDSICON 09 reading “Dementia Solidarity”, the conference aimed to engage the entire society in the mission of tackling dementia, highlighting the grave social impacts of this menacing problem and the importance of combined effort to tackle the challenge.

Learn ’n Shop & Join Global Solidarity for Mind & Memory To offer every individual an enjoyable and instructive forum to get counted in the unfurling Memory Solidarity, there was a continuous and separate session – Social Forum – at Hyatt Regency. This session ran parallel to the other two sessions on medical/scientific issues and care giving issues. To be at the Social Forum, no formal registration was
required. It was open for one and all.

Forum Navigation
At the Social Forum, there was the specially designed ARDSI Calcutta Stall where one got to know the essentials of dementia and the movement that has been gathering pace worldwide to tackle this menace, through flexes, leaflets, brochures and books – free-of-cost.

At the stall there were also irresistible Memory T-Shirts and Memory Caps, an authentic book dealing with various aspects of dementia, specially published to raise mass awareness; and an extraordinary memoir of a family care giver, who at his age of 84, is still taking care of his wife who is now in her terminal stage of Alzheimer’s, a must-buy practical guide for all care givers. And there was a beautiful pavilion of bailou. And, hold your breath. There was a rich exhibition of some immortal creations by the eminent artists like Jogen Chodhury, Samir Aich, Katayun Saklat and many more. A host of artists from Santiniketan Kalabhavan had also made available their creations. The delegates and others watched them, appreciated them, got immersed in the endless world of lines and colours. These were all finest expressions of the minds of the finest artists. Mind, which gets obscured in dementia.Katayun Saklat so candidly expressed various nuances of Alzheimer’s through her brush. As many as 34 renouned artists participated in the exhibition. Even children from different schools and institutions, like Patha Bhavan, Nehru Children’s Museum and Ankur, had all assembled in the Social Forum with their paintings and drawings to stand in solidarity with the elders for Memory. More than 100 artworks were on display.

Traditions retold….
Engaged in creation of contemporary textiles using the traditional craft of handlooms, bailou recycles, reinvents and rethinks the whole approach to the design with the aim to convey the subtle beauty of woven structures and the endless possibilities of the loom finished textiles. bailou stands for the spirit of expression. Bailou donated a part of the sales proceeds at the conference. The Social Forum was inaugurated on the first day of the Conference by Soumitra Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta, eminent film personalities of Bengal, along with Dr Daisy Acosta, Dr K Jacob Roy and Dr N. N. Sarangi. The art exhibition of the Social Forum was sponsored by Hyatt Regency.The social forum provided a relaxing environ for the faculty members and delegates in between serious sessions.
Parallel sessions on all three days: The XV National Conference of ARDSI in Kolkata was a three-day mega event, from December 4 to 6, 2009, which was a thoughroughlly inter-disciplinary international meet on dementia. For the first time in an ARDSI National Conference, parallel sessions for deliberation of scientific and medical issues, on the one hand, and care giving and social issues, on the other, were held on all three days. The delegates had a wide range of subjects, in both the sessions, to choose from. The parallel sessions were designed to highlight the importance of both the aspects of a holistic tackling of dementia and widening the scope of inter-disciplinary discussion and interaction between care givers and other stake holders. To plan and implement the bi-session conference, two committees, instead of one scientific committee as is usual, were constituted, viz., Subject Committee (Scientific Issues) and Subject Committee (Care giving & Social Issues).

Dementia Caregiver training: To add real and tangible value to the participating family and professional care givers, and involve mainstream nurses and health care professionals, a 3-hour care giver training session was arranged on the first day of the conference. The interactive session was attended by 171 delegates. The training was conducted by Peter McHale, Manager, High Dependency & Dementia Services, Southern Cross Care, Western Australia. Caring in different stages of dementia, tackling behavioural disorders, use of some specially designed instruments to help patients perform their daily activities, etc., were shown and discussed with slides and videos. The delegates also shared their experiences and problems they faced at home environment. The training session was sponsored by HelpAge India.

Special Publication of Books: Besides the Souvenir and Abstracts of presentations, two more publications were brought out, which are expected to be strong awareness and advocacy tools. The twin publication will help common man and care givers understand the basic aspects of dementia and dementia care giving.
The Kolkata Chapter of Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI Calcutta) is committed to raising awareness on dementia. Awareness, or empowering people with knowledge, is the very first step towards making any meaningful and concerted effort to tackle a challenge as vast and devastating as dementia. ARDSI Calcutta has been sincerely trying for the past ten years of its existence to spread awareness on all aspects of dementia in all corners of the society. The tools put to use in this task have so far been talk, computer-aided presentation, drama, movie, art workshop, cultural programme, leaflet, brochure and newsletter.

The organisation makes a beginning of use of another powerful medium, book, with the publication of a twin: In the line of Alzheimer’s: The mission continues and Understanding Dementia: Disease, Treatment & Care.
We are happy to bring out the first edition of these two books as ARDSI Calcutta enters the second decade of its existence on the World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21) of 2009. It is of special significance that the publication coincides with the XVth National Conference of the nation’s dementia social platform, Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India, held in Kolkata.

In the line of Alzheimer’s: The mission continues
The book deals with a very important, perhaps the single most important aspect of management of dementia – care giving. It will enlighten people on how to take care of a person with dementia and how to sustain oneself in this hard mission. Brig. (retired) S. P. Bhattacharjya, the author of the book who is now at 84 years, has been the proud primary care giver for his wife who is now in the terminal stage of Alzheimer’s. In this book, Brig Bhattacharjya recounts every
minute detail of his care giving experience of 15 years and the lessons learnt by him in the process.

Understanding Dementia: Disease, Treatment & Care
The book deals with the basics like what is dementia, what are the diseases that cause dementia, various modes of presentation of these diseases, diagnosis, available medical therapies, care giving, epidemiology and leads in dementia research and development in related fields. The authors of the articles in this book are all experts and experienced professionals in their respective fields. What is commendable is their sincere effort to make the subject easily comprehensible for a common man. A family care giver will find the fundamental issues, which often baffle them, explained lucidly in this book. This holistic knowledge will definitely help them understand the person with dementia better and better manage the condition. For others, the book will be an authentic and enjoyable source of a must-know subject.

Poster Session: As many as 20 posters on different topics from different part of the world were displayed on
the canvas. Three delegates participated in this session from Australia, the US and Japan. Junior scholars of this session were considered for award and three successful candidates presented their paper in presence of the eminent neuroscientists.

10/66 Research & National Dementia Strategy: The conference also marked the stepping of 10/66 Dementia Research Group in eastern India through a full session on the research programme. The conference ended with the crucial meeting on National Dementia Strategy.



Here are a few of many comments that reached us after the Conference

Dear Nilanjana,
I don’t know how to thank you for making the XVth National conference of ARDSI, such a remarkable event. All of us know how difficult it is to raise resources, get good speakers and participants for a conference on an issue like dementia. The three days that we spent in Kolkata was full of joy. All the delegates have gone back with a positive note on dementia. This was a big motivation to some of the recently started or revived chapters. Your creative ideas on dementia solidarity, social forum were all quite unique. May God bless you in all your activities.
I look forward to working with you closely in future.
With all good wishes
Dr. Jacob Roy
National Chairman (ARDSI)

Dear Nilanjana
I am still in Delhi, but I didn’t want to live without thanking you and all of the others at the Kolkata chapter, for all your personal attentions you had with me.
As chairman of ADI I feel so proud to see all the work you are doing for people with dementia and their families. The conference was a true success and believe me, I know all it takes behind the scenes to put up a meeting like that in our countries.
Congratulations and keep up the good work!
Daisy Acosta
Chairman, Alzheimer’s Disease International

Dear Nilanjana,
I write to thank you – and the wonderful Kolkata ARDSI chapter - for such an inspiring and well organised conference. It was a great privilege for me to attend and to meet people with such insight and dedication.
I am truly grateful.
David Perry M.A
Group Vice Chairman
European Care Group