Biogen Inc.'s recent revelation of promising early data from an experimental Alzheimer's treatment is something of a breakthrough: it's the first time that we have seen positive human data about a new Alzheimer's drug that can both reduce the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain and improve cognitive function.
An Oscar for "Still Alice" is shining the brightest light yet on Alzheimer's, but light isn't enough anymore. Attention isn't enough. It's time to get serious. Alzheimer's is exerting a powerful impact on American families -- on our health, our finances, and our futures. And women are disproportionately impacted.
While the story is fiction, Julianne Moore's gripping portrayal of a person going through the stages of Alzheimer's disease in Still Alice is an all-too-real story faced every day by more than 5 million Americans and their caregivers. Her performance is a Hollywood reminder of why Alzheimer's research is so important.
Nonprofit research foundations are creating innovative ways for scientists to find resources and the assistance they need to advance their research. Central among these innovations: a growing online marketplace -- a veritable Match.com for scientists -- that may help researchers to discover the next drug to treat Alzheimer's disease.
And so, we need to push back with a battering ram against the stereotype that Alzheimer's is merely the horrid, inevitable final stage. While the end stage is devastating, the beginning and middle stages become a lonely, painful journey, the long kiss goodbye, which often begins 15 to 20 years before diagnosis. It robs one of self. It infantilizes. Alzheimer's is not your grandfather's disease. It could be your story some day.