Lately, I can't help but think that as my grandmother slips away from me, maybe it's in that instant where I can find a silver lining. As her memories betray her and abandon her, maybe they're also making room for someone to paint something a little better.
A few weeks ago my sister sent me an apologetic email. She had forgotten my son's birthday. The same week she couldn't remember where she parked her car and she lost one of her favorite earrings. Her excuse? "I'm a card carrying member of the "I can't remember sh*t club," she said.
It's the third time in an hour that my mom has called and now we're in the middle of dinner, so I tell the kids that I'll call her back, but I really don't want to. My mother has been in an assisted living community for a year and her Alzheimer's-induced dementia has steadily spirited her away.
Right away, my dog's life flashed before my eyes. I pictured him as an 8-week-old puppy with huge floppy ears and then as a rambunctious hulking 5-year-old. That's when I knew, hard as it was, that we made the right decision.
There is ongoing to research to find medications that will not just treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but hopefully stop or slow the progress of it. In order to develop new treatments, volunteers are needed for clinical trials.
My goal is to shake 10,000 hands in 100 days. For anyone who will take 30 seconds to talk to me, I'll offer a self-addressed, pre-stamped postcard with instructions to share a single memory -- "a story you don't want to be forgotten" and mail it back to me.
Biology is an intrinsically artisan discipline: it looks like a crazy quilt of intricately interwoven threads (take a look at the diagram of any biological pathway and you get the picture, let alone how things translate across scales).
In the fall of 2008, I wrote a screenplay I intended to film entirely in an Alzheimer's unit. After many weeks of rehearsals, I arrived at a troubling realization: I was not just making a challenging film -- I was making the wrong film.
What if a preeminent global health authority declared there's a public health "time bomb" among us? What if he were the person most responsible for leading the coalition that turned HIV/AIDS from a certain death sentence into a manageable illness?
There are four activities that can typically reach persons at all stages of Alzheimer's disease. Being visited by a child is one of them, as young Max discovered. Others include having a visit from a pet, listening to or playing music and observing or creating artwork.
There has been enormous attention of late to the grim and genuinely frightening problem of Alzheimer's disease. The problem is grim by its very nature -- there is little we contemplate with greater dread than the loss of our minds, our very selves.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has begun to develop a long-term plan regarding dementia. The planning advisory committee for this project includes a representative of the Substance Abuse and Services Administration and representatives of other federal agencies.
It might very well be the case that adequate adiponectin activity may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's. However, resistance to the hormone may prevent the body from benefitting from the those effects. Further research is needed to resolve this new puzzle.
My wife's 103-year-old grandmother lived in a third floor walk-up apartment in New York City. The exercise she got on those stairs and errands may not only have protected her heart so she could live past 100, it may also have protected her brain.
Today, too many families face President Reagan's "long goodbye" -- and too many Alzheimers' victims know, even as the disease begins to rob them of their memories, of the pain their families will face.
The common bacteria, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), has recently come into focus as a contributing factor in a variety of human health problems. Over the last few years, research has suggested H. pylori infection might also be a risk factor in the development of Alzheimer's.
Standing on the summits of the highest mountains of the world's continents has been rewarding as a mountaineer. Sending our message of hope, need and urgency to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease has been overwhelming.