October 9, 2018

Today's Top Alzheimer's News


(ICYMI) A September 30, 2018 blog post by Alzheimer’s advocate Loretta Veney shared her excitement following the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s 2018 National Alzheimer’s Summit. In particular, the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition Round Table, with the aim of mobilizing faith communities around brain health and AD awareness, sparked her interest. Connections made there led to participation in a panel, part of the “Forget Me Not” stage play, about the impact of Alzheimer’s on the African-American family. According to Veney, “I had great fellowship with the wonderful people who lead the church’s [First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, VA] Alzheimer’s Support Group. By the time we finished setup for the resource table with information on Alzheimer’s I was totally spirit-filled and ready to meet the many people who would enter the church doors to receive information, to laugh and to cry.”


An October 8, 2018 NPR Your Health radio segment looked to advice about Alzheimer's disease prevention from Dr. Jessica Langbaum of the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative at Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix. Langbaum spent years studying the effects of brain training programs on the brain. According to the article, Langbaum “…Realized early on that puzzles and games weren't the answer because they tend to focus on one very narrow task. The result is like exercising just one muscle in your body, Langbaum says. That muscle will get stronger, but your overall fitness isn't going to change.”


An October 8, 2018 Miami Herald opinion piece by Jackie Keech told her story of falling in love with a married man whose wife had Alzheimer’s disease. Likening herself to fictional character Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter,” she imagined wearing her own scarlet “A” for Alzheimer’s. According to Keech, “There is much comfort in being with someone who is going through hell when you are, too... From misery to comfort to finally being able to find laughter, from friendship to wanting more, our relationship deepened. Under normal circumstances this is when we would have shared our good news with family and friends. But we were conflicted. We felt guilty about what was happening, so we kept quiet and stayed apart examining options. Finally we sought professional advice.”


An October 8, 2018 EurekAlert! release reported that USC scientists created the most detailed map to-date of the hippocampus, illustrating the internal circuitry in great detail. They used fluorescent tracers and 3-D animation to show structures, nerve connections and functions. The hippocampus stores memories, helps regulate emotions and guides navigation by spatial processing, and is the first part of the brain impaired by Alzheimer's disease.


A Ms X Factor Self-Care feature article looked at the disproportionate burden of family caregiving on women, especially if they are also raising children. The heightened impact includes significant financial, emotional and health costs resulting from caring for aging parents. According to the article, “…Female, family caregivers often limit their earning potential to take care of frail parents by working fewer hours, passing up job promotions, training and other assignments that lead to career advancement, taking a leave of absence, or switching from full to part-time employment.”


An October 8, 2018 Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy publication focuses on its new report, “Alzheimer’s Disease: A Center for Strategic Philanthropy Giving Smarter Guide,” providing deep scientific insight into the issues, and outlines a concrete and actionable set of options. “An infusion of philanthropic funds can de-risk a sector and demonstrate a proof-of-concept. Philanthropy can act where other entities cannot—bridging sectors without consideration of partisanship, bottom lines, or policy stances, and providing support where it is most needed.”