Common Features of Neurodegenerative Diseases: Exploring the Brain/Eye Connection and Beyond

Common Features of Neurodegenerative Diseases: Exploring the Brain/Eye Connection and Beyond

Gothenburg, Sweden

March 28, 2023

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Common Features of Neurodegenerative Diseases: Exploring the Brain/Eye Connection and Beyond
Pre-Symposium Workshop to AD/PD 2023
March 28, 2023
Gothenburg, Sweden

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“Use It or Lose It: How Tiny Changes in Energy, Metabolism and Mitochondria Can Lead To Neurodegenerative Disease”


  • Diane Bovenkamp
  • Guojun Bu
  • Adriana Di Polo
  • Todd Golde

Tuesday, March 28, 2023, 8:00 am - 3:50 pm (Central European Time)

This day-long, CME credit-eligible workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the common and distinct features of neurodegenerative diseases, which include not only those affecting the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia; but also the ocular diseases including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and inherited retinal degenerative diseases. Some of the questions that will be addressed during this fourth pre-symposium workshop, starting from small (Section 1. Mitochondria In Health and Neurodegeneration; Section 2. Glucose and Lipid Metabolism) and ending with a more wholistic (Section 3. System-level Energy Dysfunction and Metabolic Disorders) point of view are:

  • Why does the nervous system (including the brain and eyes) have a unique energy demand? 
  • How can one evaluate metabolic fitness? 
  • How can only tiny changes in energy, metabolism and/or mitochondria lead to neurodegenerative disease?
  • Is there a definite ‘tipping point’ that could be prevented in humans to delay the onset of disease?
  • What role do comorbidities, like diabetes and other insulin/energy/metabolism-dysfunction diseases, play in neurodegenerative diseases?
  • How can one study this in living humans? 
  • Are there common elements across these diseases that could give a clue to prevention and future treatments?

(On mobile devices, swipe left to see all of the table columns.)

Time Topics
8:00 - 8:15 (Central European Time)

Welcome and Introduction, Including Workshop General Discussion Primer
Welcome/Introduction: Diane Bovenkamp (BrightFocus Foundation, USA) dbovenkamp@brightfocus.orgDiscussion Primer: Guojun Bu, Adriana Di Polo, Todd Golde


Section 1: Mitochondria In Health and Neurodegeneration
Chair: Adriana Di Polo
(University of Montreal, Canada)

Mitochondria are essential organelles that regulate multiple processes essential for neuronal function including metabolic balance, intracellular calcium homeostasis, production of reactive oxygen species, and apoptotic signaling. Accumulating evidence indicates that mitochondrial defects play a central role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. This session will cover new insights into mitochondrial dynamics, trafficking, transmitophagy, and damage as well as novel therapeutic strategies to increase mitochondrial health in eye and brain diseases.

8:15 - 8:35 Wei Li: Mitochondria as Microlenses: Implications for Cone Photoreceptor Function in Health and Disease
8:35 - 8:55 Nicholas Marsh-Armstrong: The Role of Transmitophagy in Neurodegenerative Diseases
8:55 - 9:15 Valina Dawson: Pre-Recorded: Decoding Mitochondria Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease
9:15 - 9:35 Li Gan: Mitochondria and Tau in Ftd
9:35 - 9:55 Heberto Quintero: Adaptor Protein Supplementation To Restore Mitochondrial Transport in Glaucoma
10:25 - 10:40 BREAK/SNACK

Section 2: Glucose and Lipid Metabolism
Chair: Todd Golde
(Emory University, USA)

Individual cell-types in the brain have unique energy requirements and unique roles in meeting the energetic demands placed on the brain. Disruption in cellular cross-talk and cell-autonomous energy occur during the setting of neurodegenerative disease. A more refined disruption of the cellular and intercellular metabolic defects will likely offer new insights into neurodegenerative disease and perhaps illuminate novel therapeutic approaches.

10:40 - 11:00 Gil Rabinovici: History of the Use of Fdg-Pet in the Temporal Cascade of the Use in Alzheimer’s?
11:00 - 11:20 Lance Johnson: How Does One Define Metabolic Fitness?
11:20 - 11:40 Hussein Yassine: Nutritional Metabolism and Cerebral Bioenergetics in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
11:40 - 12:00 Lois Smith: Lipid Metabolism in Neovascular Diseases of the Eye
12:30 - 13:30 LUNCH

Section 3: System-level Energy Dysfunction and Metabolic Disorders 
Chair: Guojun Bu
(USA) (

Metabolic conditions and diabetes are risk factors for both Alzheimer’s disease and eye diseases. In addition to hypoperfusion restricting blood flow, they also impact brain energy metabolism including insulin signaling and glucose utilization. In this section, the speakers will discuss how brain metabolism and insulin signaling are impaired in these neurodegenerative conditions and how these pathways can be targeted for therapy to treat brain and eye diseases, and to promote healthy brain aging.

13:30 - 13:50 Dimitra Skondra: Pre-Recorded: Metformin and Age-Related Macular Degeneration
13:50 - 14:10 Heather Ferris: Diabetes-Mediated Cognitive Decline; Lessons From Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
14:10 - 14:30 Naoyuki Sato: Interaction Between Apoe Genotype and Diabetes in Longevity and Dementia
14:30 - 14:50 Pete Williams: Clinical Trials and Nad Supplementation for Glaucoma
15:20 - 15:50 CLOSING REMARKS

View on AD/PD website


AD/PD 2023: Advances in Science and Therapy. March 28 - April 1, 2023 | Gothenburg, Sweden.