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Health Wise, The Times

CCRstudies is proud to have a column in the local Times newspapers called “Health Wise.”
Here is the column which ran recently, highlighting Alzheimer’s and CCRstudies free memory clinics:

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. It is quite likely you or someone you know has been personally touched by memory loss.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder which, in simple terms, kills brain cells and affects memory. The disease is classified in three stages: mild, moderate, and severe. Alzheimer’s is the sixth ranking cause of death nationally.

Currently an estimated 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and it continues to grow with the aging population. Alzheimer’s is primarily a disease of the aging, typically striking those who are 65 and older. However, dementia, a more general diagnosis, which includes those with Alzheimer’s, is not attached to a certain age group. There are a reported half a million people younger than 65 who are affected by some form of dementia. Hollywood shed a light on this condition last year with the movie “Still Alice,” where Oscar winner Julianne Moore portrayed a middle aged woman living with early onset Alzheimer’s. While this movie was based on a fictional book, the scenario of memory loss at middle age is not uncommon. Younger onset Alzheimer’s comprises up to 5 percent of the over 5 million Americans living with this disease.

Memory disease has widespread affects for the individual living with memory loss, and for his or her caregivers and loved ones. Alzheimer’s has been referred to as “the long goodbye.” This degenerative condition robs people of their thinking, reasoning, and cognitive abilities. It also robs friends and family of those living with the disease of the person they once knew and loved. In many instances, adult children find themselves in the role of “parent” with their own mom or dad. Spouses, as well, take on a new role, and find themselves transitioning from partner to caregiver.

Research for Alzheimer’s disease is being conducted globally, and locally in New London. Most current treatments for Alzheimer’s address the symptoms of the disease and not the underlying cause. It has been over a decade since new medications for Alzheimer’s were introduced to the general public through the FDA. Clinical trials of investigational drugs are currently being tested on volunteers living with memory loss. Caregivers, as well as study volunteers, play an important role in the clinical trial process.

To date, no drug has been found to cure or reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. There is no “magic pill” designed to take away the confusion, agitation, distress and forgetfulness caused by memory disease. Current treatment can help to manage symptoms, but we are not yet at a place where this degenerative disease is being kept at bay. Investigational medications are targeting nerve receptors in the brain important for memory, thinking and reasoning.

Realizing the importance of early detection in memory loss, CCRstudies in New London, in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, has begun hosting no cost memory clinics in the region. Staff trained as Qualified Dementia Care Specialists are available to conduct free memory testing as a service to the community. To learn more about no cost memory testing for you or your community group or organization, call 860-443-4567, or e-mail marylou@ccrstudies.com. Memory testing is private, confidential, and results can be forwarded to your primary care doctor.

 

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