Addressing Health Equity in IDD and Exploring Dementia in Down Syndrome w Dr Seth Keller

In this enlightening episode of IDD Health Matters, Dr. Craig Escude welcomes Dr. Seth Keller, a neurologist specializing in the care of adults with neurological complications, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The episode, recorded at the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry conference in Denver, Colorado, delves into Dr. Keller’s journey in the field, his insights on health equity, and his extensive work on dementia, particularly in individuals with Down Syndrome.

Key Topics Covered

Dr. Keller’s Background and Evolution in IDD Care: Dr. Keller shares his transition from a general adult neurologist to an expert in complex epileptic care in developmental disabilities. He reflects on his early years in institutionalized care and his growing awareness of the social and medical needs of individuals with IDD.

Healthcare Disparities and Advocacy: The conversation highlights the unfortunate reality of healthcare disparities faced by people with IDD. Dr. Keller discusses the challenges in training healthcare providers to understand and effectively treat individuals with IDD, emphasizing the importance of behavior as a form of communication.

Dementia in Down Syndrome: Dr. Keller provides a detailed explanation of the increased risk of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in individuals with Down Syndrome. He discusses the importance of understanding baseline functioning to diagnose dementia and the development of tools to track changes in daily living activities. The National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and

Dementia Practices (NTG): As co-president of the NTG, Dr. Keller talks about the organization’s role in addressing aging-related issues in people with IDD. He explains the use of tools like the Early Detection Screen for Dementia (EDSD) to identify changes in individuals with IDD.

Experience in Ukraine: Dr. Keller shares his poignant experiences in Ukraine, where he observed the state of institutionalized care for individuals with IDD. He discusses the cultural and systemic challenges in these settings and the impact of the ongoing conflict on people with disabilities.

Future Directions in Neurology and Dementia: The episode concludes with a teaser for a future discussion on the latest developments in neurology and dementia, particularly relating to Down Syndrome.

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