Dec. 4, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Join Forest Park Branch Manager Reggie Wilson and staff member Joan Sutherland for an informative program on Alzheimer's disease. One of the goals of the program is to give people of all ages a greater awareness of a relentless disease that afflicts 5.3 million people, predominately senior citizens. It will be held:
(In the Forest Park Branch Library Community Room),
380 Belmont Avenue, Springfield, MA.
The special guest during the program will be East Forest Park resident Joan Breitung. Breitung is a registered nurse and author of the critically-acclaimed book Forgetting: When to Worry, What to Do. She will talk about advances in Alzheimer's research, memory, and local services and family support groups for those stricken with Alzheimer's Disease. The program will also feature a showing of the Emmy awarded PBS documentary The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's.
The former 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, had a way of finding a touch of humor during grim times. He went in to see his doctors five years after he left office in 1994 and told them, "I have three things to tell you. I've been having problems with my memory and I can't remember the other two." Reagan, who had a family history of Alzheimer's disease, suffered an irreversible decade-long loss of his mental faculties until he eventually died. It's not just a former president who has fallen victim to this ravenous brain disease. There is a long list of famous people who are Alzheimer's disease victims. Director Otto Preminger, actress Rita Hayworth, graceful boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, classical music composer Aaron Copeland, and artist Norman Rockwell all succumb to the disease.
Alzheimer's disease has gone from being a rare disease 100 years ago to become the leading cause of memory loss due to dementia. It plagues an estimated 5.3 million (mostly elderly) Americans and is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Younger people are not immune to the disease, but every year past age 65 the percentage of people with Alzheimer's disease increases. By age 75, people have a one in ten chance of developing the disease. As for gender differences, women over 75 have a one in five chance of getting Alzheimer's disease while in men it's one in ten.
In the informative PBS documentary The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's world renown Alzheimer's disease researcher Dr. Rudolph Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital gives a concise description of what a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease means to both the victim and the family. "One of the most basic human fears is the loss of memory. The loss of self. It's the ultimate attack on a healthy person to lose the very essence of who you are. I will no longer know who I am.
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