Alzheimer's

Beta amyloid plaques (brown) in the brain are strongly linked to Alzheimer's disease. A new blood test is a sensitive, early indicator of such brain changes.
National Institute on Aging, NIH / Public Domain

Alzheimer's disease affects at least five and a half million people in the United States. One of the greatest challenges in trying to treat the disease is catching it early enough. There's currently no reliable way to diagnose Alzheimer's until symptoms like memory loss are already recognizable. And by that time the brain has suffered years if not decades worth of damage. That's likely why many promising drug trials in recent years have failed.

The Forgetting: Episode 13

In the finale of “The Forgetting Podcast: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s” Season 1, we learn that there will be a season 2, slated for release in the fall. We also hear from co-hosts Greg O’Brien and David Shenk about the response they’ve received since the podcast was released. Greg talks about his hero, Larry David, who sent Greg a gift. An 85-year-old woman asks Greg a question about his Jeep and probably regrets it. David talks about the recent loss of his own mother to dementia. And Greg has an adventure in an Uber.

This episode was recorded June 7, 2019.

Where’s the Government?

Jun 14, 2019

The Forgetting podcast: Episode 12

Special guest George Vrandenburg talks about his work pushing the federal government to spend more on research. George tells talks about the loss of his wife Trish to Alzheimer’s and how the disease impacted their family. Greg recalls an event in Los Angeles that reinvigorated him in the fight against the disease. Other topics: people need to talk about Alzheimer’s and dementia in order to demystify the disease; people need to look out for caregivers, who could find their own health compromised as they care for loved ones.

George Vrandenburg is chairman and co-founder of the organization UsAgainstAlzheimer's. Find out more about the organization here.

This episode was recorded October 11, 2017.

DEAR: Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, a service of the National Institute on Aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of death and affects an estimated five and a half million Americans. Decades of research have greatly improved our understanding of how the disease develops, from plaques of a protein called amyloid beta, to tangles of another protein called tau, and finally to inflammation in the brain and the familiar symptoms of dementia.

A Family Diagnosis

May 31, 2019

The Forgetting podcast: Episode 11

Greg reveals that he blacked out twice while going to a business meeting, but he did not tell anyone. David tries to surprise Greg with two mystery guests. The surprise fails. Greg’s two sons, Conner and Brendan O’Brien, join the podcast for an honest discussion about their dad and dementia’s impact on their lives. Greg and his family discuss a difficult conversation they recently had about the family’s financial future.

This episode was recorded on July 27, 2017 at the WGBH Studio at the Boston Public Library Café in front of a live audience.

Moving Between Two Worlds

May 17, 2019

The Forgetting podcast: Episode 10

Greg and David are joined by Gloria Clayborne, the wife and caregiver to jazz icon Junior Mance, who has dementia. Greg talks about going into a rage and stepping out of a cab in Manhattan. Gloria discusses some of the strategies she uses to deal with her husband’s hallucinations and incontinence. David, Greg and Gloria talk about sex, and how some Alzheimer’s patients still have strong sex drives and a desire for intimacy.

This episode was recorded on May 24, 2017.

Finding New Pathways

May 3, 2019

The Forgetting podcast: Episode 9

Greg talks about the death of Trish Vradenburg, who, along with her husband George, helped create US Against Alzheimer’s – one of the most effective advocacy organizations in the Alzheimer’s world. Greg says his mind is telling him to do things he wouldn’t normally do, which makes him worry. David talks about the plan for how long the podcast will go on so that people can get the blunt truth about the disease.

This episode was recorded April 27, 2017.

Realize What's Important

Apr 12, 2019

The Forgetting podcast: Episode 8

Greg loses his friend. Greg gets upset with people who do the “drive by.” An encounter of the 3rd kind. Greg tells a joke about Alzheimer’s, reminding us to keep our senses of humor. A discussion of the disease before symptoms. Greg has advice for his friend as he faces dying.

This episode was recorded April 13, 2017.

Less Judgmental

Mar 29, 2019

The Forgetting podcast: Episode 7

Greg talks about flipping off drivers on the way to the station. David and Greg discuss when it’s appropriate to correct someone with Alzheimer’s, and when it’s be best to just let things go. David surprises Greg by bringing on special guest Lisa Genova, the author of the novel, “Still Alice,” and a close friend of Greg’s. Once again, the conversation turns to suicide, with Lisa offering some valuable context and information. Lisa tells a story about ALS.

This episode was recorded March 16, 2017.

Special guest: Lisa Genova

 

KEY WORDS: Alzheimers; Dementia; Depression; ALS; Lisa Genova

We are making significant progress on uncovering the roots of Alzheimer’s. Marc Diamond argues that it's time for a national effort.
U.S. Army / https://tinyurl.com/y3vg7tgr

By Marc Diamond, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Imagine if Alzheimer’s was treated like other common diseases. Instead of worrying about the prospect of slowly losing your memory, you might get a series of shots during middle age to prevent the onset of this neurological nightmare, just as we do to reduce the risk of flu. Or you could take a daily pill as many do to control their cholesterol or blood pressure.

Courtesy of Gregory L. Tracy / http://gregorytracy.com/

“Science helps us diagnose the problem. The reality, though, is that scientists have been diagnosing for quite a while and it still hasn’t moved us to action.” - Reverend Mariama White-Hammond on climate change

This week on Living Lab Radio:

J. Junker

 WCAI launches a new podcast focused on Alzheimer’s disease: it's called “The Forgetting: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's." The twice-monthly podcast is co-hosted by two well-respected Alzheimer's experts and authors: David Shenk, author of "The Forgetting: Alzheimer's, Portrait of an Epidemic" and Greg O'Brien, author of "On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's".

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide, yet there are only a handful of drugs to treat the symptoms. None of them address the underlying disease processes, and it’s been years since a major new drug got approved. But there are 126 drugs in clinical trials. A leading researcher breaks down the prospects and obstacles to treating Alzheimer’s disease. We talk with Rudy Tanzi of Harvard & Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Every 66 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 5.5 million Americans are living with this disease, which steals memories and changes personalities. By 2050 that number could be as high as 16 million. On The Point, we talk about the hopes raised by promising new research, and about some innovative programs being offered on Cape Cod.

About 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, and that number is rising in line with the aging population. An estimated one to four family members act as caregivers for each individual with Alzheimer’s. Joining us on The Point is Dr. Molly Perdue, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Family Support Center, designed to get caregivers the help and support they need.

Pages