Apr 212014
 
Where the Truth Lies, An Excerpt from <i>Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living With Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias</i>

The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths. ~William James My father doesn’t know that my sister, Alice, is dead. He doesn’t know that she had cancer, that she suffered, or that she, in a pain-pills-slur, asked to be buried in a red dress with no shoes. My father doesn’t know that I am his daughter, Elizabeth Emily, the girl he nicknamed “E.E.” for brevity and affection. He [...]

Apr 182014
 
Breaking Our Silence on Capitol Hill

When my husband Jim, who just turned 53, was first diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. The doctor didn’t tell us Alzheimer’s is fatal. He didn’t tell us there is no cure or that we should get our affairs in order. He didn’t tell us how long Jim might have left. He simply said, “See you back in six months.” If you are lucky, your doctor might refer [...]

Apr 072014
 
Advocacy: Why It Matters

I’m in Washington, D.C. today as an Alzheimer’s advocate. Why? Three years ago my life took a very unexpected change in course. In 2011 at the age of 56, I was diagnosed with younger-onset dementia, probable frontotemporal dementia (FTD). But my journey, although altered, is by no means over. I have chosen not to let this disease isolate or silence me. After my diagnosis I found it difficult to locate services and education for people [...]

Mar 112014
 
"You Don't Look Like You Have Alzheimer's"

A few weeks ago, I developed a cough. I went to the doctor, they checked everything out and sent me home. But I wasn’t getting better. I started to worry when the cough got really bad and I was having a hard time breathing. I called my son, who told me that if it didn’t get better, I should go to the emergency room. By three in the afternoon, I was still having trouble breathing, [...]

Feb 212014
 
A Caregiver's Decision to Participate in Clinical Trials

Volunteers – both with and without Alzheimer’s disease – are needed to participate in actively enrolling clinical trials about Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Recruiting and retaining trial participants is one of the greatest obstacles to developing the next generation of  treatments and possibly future cures for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. TrialMatch® is a free matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current clinical studies. With a [...]

Dec 062013
 
When My World Became All Things Alzheimer's

“In all likelihood, you have mild cognitive impairment that will eventually lead to younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, especially with your family’s history.” With that brief pronouncement, my world, my husband’s world and our children’s world changed forever. My husband Jim was 48 when we heard those words. I was 40. Our daughter was 9 and our son was 6. I wasn’t exactly sure what it all meant. The more reading and research I did, the more depressed I became. [...]

Feb 152013
 
Dr. Goldie Byrd on Alzheimer's and the African-American Community

During February, Black History Month, the Alzheimer’s Association sat down for a one-on-one talk with Dr. Goldie Byrd, an African-American scientist who has spent more than a decade researching the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease. Early in her career, Dr. Byrd recognized the impact of studying the nature of Alzheimer’s disease on a genomic level. Here are some of her thoughts on her observations and her motivations for continuing her research. “I decided to focus my [...]

Sep 182012
 
Going Purple for Poppy

To support causes near to her heart, jewelry designer Holly Freeman started a line of limited edition pieces with friend and actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler.  In honor of World Alzheimer’s Month, the two philanthropists designed a purple bracelet. Proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association.  Alzheimer’s has touched so many.  I know firsthand.  My grandfather was an incredibly talented artist. His works spanned from beautiful flowers and landscapes, to drawings of my favorite cartoon characters he made [...]

Sep 052012
 
To Fight Stigma, I Speak Up

I was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 at the age of 56. Prior to my diagnosis, I was the senior vice president of operations for M&T Bank, overseeing hundreds of employees across the Maryland and Delaware regions. I still run into those people — former employees or co-workers — at the grocery store or out at restaurants. I remember faces, but not always their names. Often, I notice that people make eye contact [...]

May 312012
 
Why Berries May Delay Memory Decline

Berries, they’re not just for breakfast anymore. In a study published last month in the Annals of Neurology, researchers  reported that consumption of berries and flavonoids showed a slower rate of cognitive decline in women aged 70 and older.* Using data from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study of 122,000 registered nurses, the researchers conducted assessments on 16,010 women. The Nurses Health Study began in 1976. Every four years they were questioned on their eating habits. [...]

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