Barriers to Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease Among Latinx Individuals; Forgetting: What It Is & Why It Helps Us Remember; On the Trails of Malaria and Covid

Explore the Unknown!   
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For August 18, 2021            
Hi WN@TL Fans,
My family and I spent August 1-8 in Truckee, California, about 40 minutes west of Reno, NV,  20 minutes north of Lake Tahoe, and a tortuous wagon ride east of Donner Pass.  The mountains, the valleys, the lakes, the deserts and even the pool-table-flat cowboy country east of Beckwourth are gorgeous:  I recommend putting a padlock on your breath, or the views will steal it away.
But O, My, Is It Dry.  The winter snowpack was meagre, and the summer rains have been scant.  Lake Oroville of the Feather River is but a shriveled thread:  there is no reserve in the reservoir.  Near Quincy we drove by a old, cold edge of the Dixie Fire, now the single largest in California history.  Smoke from active parts of the Dixie enveloped Truckee the last three days of our visit, and gray ash speckled the black finish of our rental car.
As was the case when we drove the Pacific Coast Highway last August during the fires at Big Sur, the smoke and specter of California wildfires reminds us that it’s not only the western vistas that really will take your breath away.
Our flight back into Madison laid before us one final theme:  this land is green.  The fields and the forests ooze verdant in a dozen shades, a score of hues, a painter’s palette of life upon the land.  Stepping off the plane we hit a wall of mugginess worthy of a machete.  Walking down the jetway my skin offered up a celestial thank-you to the numen in charge of our local sling psychrometer.  My son’s blistered lips healed in a few days back home at 850 feet elevation and 80% relative humidity.
Humans travel for many reasons:  we yearn to roam our Earthly home.  For me, family travels are about adventure and exploration, about rest and relaxation, about being baffled by bidets and bemused by other foreign ways.  Mostly, they’re about making memories.  This week and next we get a double-header of presentations on making and losing memories, on cognition and dementia, and on recognizing what we as individuals and as a society can do to better manage our minds over the course of our lives.

On August 18 Maria Mora Pinzon of Family Medicine and Community Health will share her research & insights on “Barriers to Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease Among Latinx Individuals:  More than a Language Issue.”
Description: Hispanic/Latino adults are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. However, they have higher rates of under-diagnosis (and hence under-treatment), and experience unique barriers to access diagnosis and treatment. In this presentation we will start by discussing who is considered Hispanic or Latino, the factors that are associated with increased risk, and the barriers that affect access to healthcare services (e.g. insurance, language). Even more, we will explore some examples of culturally relevant information and the use of social media to bridge gaps in Latinx communities.

Bio: Dr. Mora Pinzon received her medical degree from the Universidad Central de Venezuela – Escuela Jose Maria Vargas, a master’s degree in Clinical Research from Rush University (Chicago, IL), and completed Preventive Medicine Residency at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW-Madison) in 2017. She is Board Certified in Preventive Medicine and Public Health and is currently a primary care research fellow at the UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and a scientist with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute.

Dr. Mora Pinzon has leadership positions in the American College of Preventive Medicine and is a member of Health Policy Professional Interest Areas of The Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART). She is working in health equity and its intersection with dissemination and implementation science in Latinx and African American communities, particularly in topics affecting older adults: falls, management of chronic diseases, and healthcare access for patients living with dementias and their caregivers.

Among her awards, she was selected as 2018 Young Physician of the year by the National Hispanic Medical Association, 2020 William Kane Rising Start Award from the American College of Preventive Medicine, and more recently named by Medscape as one of the 25 Rising Stars in Medicine. She is one of the co-founders of the Twitter community #LatinasInMedicine which amplifies the voices of Latinas in healthcare professions, and shares opportunities for networking, mentoring and professional development.

Explore More:
On August 25 Haley Vlach of Educational Psychology will speak on “Forgetting:  What It Is and Why It Helps Us Remember.”
Description: This talk will provide an overview of a critical process of human memory: forgetting. I will explain what forgetting is, why we study forgetting, and what scientists have discovered from the science of forgetting. While most of us see forgetting as a process that impairs our ability to remember, research has revealed that forgetting is one of our most powerful learning mechanisms. That is, forgetting is a good thing!
Bio: Dr. Haley Vlach is a faculty member in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Director of the Learning, Cognition, & Development Lab. Her research examines the mechanisms underlying children’s learning to (a) understand cognition and how cognition develops, and (b) build an empirical base for the design of successful learning interventions and educational curricula.  Her research has been funded by NIH, NSF, WARF, WCER, and the Australian Research Council. Dr. Vlach has received several awards for her work, recognizing her as an early pioneer in the fields of cognitive science and developmental psychology. For instance, she has received the SRCD Early Career Contribution Award, APA Boyd McCandless Award, William Chase Award, and James S. McDonnell Foundation Human Cognition Scholar Award. She holds doctorate and master’s degrees in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University.

Explore More:
Remember, we continue to meet by Zoom, since we can’t gather all in one room.  
Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!
Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H

UW-Madison:  5.9 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university. 

Visit UW-Madison’s science outreach portal at for information on the people, places & programs on campus that welcome you to come experience science as exploring the unknown, all year round. 
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