How’s it going? Jourdyn asked me to pop in and share a bit with you all about what I have learned about Alzheimer’s Disease over the years. I should start by letting you all know that my info is as a layman, as I am not a medical doctor, and I am not a scientist or researcher. I do happen to have a passion for the cause of trying to help find better treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. Many of you have likely heard about the disease and may know bits and pieces about it, but you may have questions about what causes the disease, when it may start and what the ultimate outcome tends to be for those who suffer from the disease. I am going to try to briefly answer some of these questions, and at the bottom of this post there will be links to some websites and various information and support groups for those who may be suffering from the disease, or may be caretakers for someone else who is suffering.
A little about me: I started studying Alzheimer’s Disease and the effects of it back in college when I did a research paper on the disease for my Intro to Psychology course. I had no idea when I chose that topic that I would be sitting here writing this blog post today. When I cracked that first book I became very passionate about seeing what I could do to help educate people about the disease, and I really had so much compassion for the people who were suffering from it and those who cared for them. I should also mention that in the years since I wrote that paper the research and treatments for the disease have vastly increased, but we are still so far from finding a cure. Research is the key, and unfortunately research takes money. When Jourdyn and I were discussing her reasons to be passionate about raising money to find a cure for this horrible disease, it was a simple one for her-her mother is currently suffering from Alzheimer’s, which in turn means that she and her siblings have an increased chance of also developing the same disease. See, like most other diseases, Alzheimer’s seems to be genetic. It appears in generation after generation, and that makes it SUPER SCARY! For those tasked with trying to care for a parent or family member with the disease they also have the added fear that they may be looking at their own future-and that is terrifying.
Mainstream media has tried to impart upon us the emotional effects of some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, such as in the novel and movie The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, and this year’s movie from Open Book Productions 1Million Happy Nows. If you have not read the book or seen either of these films, I would urge you to check them out. The former deals with a woman who suffers with the dementia set in by Alzheimer’s and the latter also focuses
on a woman suffering with the disease-who has an early onset of the disease. She is younger than most people who suffer with the disease. Why is that worth mentioning? Because most people think of Alzheimer’s as an old person’s disease, one that is just part of the aging process, and I am here to tell you that this is NOT the case. This disease is not the normal part of the aging process, it is a disease where plaques and tangles start growing and ultimately causing brain functioning to decrease and brain cells to die. The reason for the dementia with this disease is because plaque (which are deposits of a protein called beta-amyloid which build up in the spaces between the nerve cells) and tangles (which are twisted fibers of another protein called Tau which builds up inside cells) tend to start developing rapidly in the memory centers of the brain. They eventually spread, sometimes more rapidly, to other parts of the brain, which effect mood, memories, vision, and eventually normal bodily functions. People who suffer with this disease ultimately lose themselves, i.e their memories, ability to write, ability to learn, they forget the people they know intimately and familial (their children, siblings, close friends) and they forget things they already know how to do until the body eventually forgets to have their muscles move and their heart to pump and lungs to breath. It is a terribly debilitating and fatal disease.
The Cause, “Write THE END to Alzheimer’s,” is something that Jourdyn and I brainstormed in trying to find ways to bring awareness to this cause. I approached her with the thought of having authors and readers begin supporting this cause to raise funds for the research necessary to try to find better treatments and A CURE for this horrible disease. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of money spent on the research for Alzheimer’s because so many people who direct where funding goes still look at this disease as an old person’s disease, and they fail to understand that it is not normal, or that it is possible to have this disease onset in midlife, versus late. Our goal is to simply raise money that can be used for the research and hopefully the cure of this disease. How can you support the cause as an author? Possibly adding a page at the front or back of your next novel which talks about the cause and maybe donating a portion of your proceeds, even a small amount, to the cause, and by providing the information to allow your readers a way to donate. Jourdyn and I spoke about how everyone has their own agenda these days as to what they do with their money, but we hope that people will not see this as an agenda at all, but the cause that it is. It took people standing up and saying we believe this should be researched and that there needs to be a cure for things such as Muscular Dystrophy, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, Childhood cancer, and Breast cancer. Those causes began slowly, but have become known in households around the country. Alzheimer’s research is a world-wide cooperative, with research going on in other countries as well. If the former President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan, can be taken from us because of this disease, truly no one is invincible, no matter what your net worth may be.
If you find the thought of waking up one day and not remembering who you are, or who your loved ones are, as horrifying as we do, please join us in this cause and let’s Write THE END to Alzheimer’s Disease…
24/7 Helpline: 1.800.272.3900
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
A Couple of Kindle Books If you happen to need another perspective:
I’m Still Smart: How Alzheimer’s took my Mom by Michael Lowry
Dementia or Alzheimer’s: A Daughter’s Guide to Home Care from the Early Signs and the Onset of Dementia through the Various Alzheimer’s Stages by Robin Gail
Avid reader and blossoming author