• Question: What is your favorite part of the Alzheimer disease?

    Asked by Kristein to Jonathan, Kellie, Kevin, Melissa, Stephanie on 29 Apr 2016.
    • Photo: Stephanie Moon

      Stephanie Moon answered on 29 Apr 2016:

      Hi Kristein,
      I think Alzheimer’s disease in particular is interesting to study because we can learn about how the brain normally works by figuring out what goes wrong in this disease. We might learn how nerve cells and other cells in the brain communicate to let us remember things by figuring out why memory is lost in Alzheimer’s patients. I would be interested in looking at the cells in the brain to figure out how this happens.

    • Photo: Melissa Wilson Sayres

      Melissa Wilson Sayres answered on 29 Apr 2016:

      It would feel weird to say I have a favorite part. One thing I find particularly interesting about Alzheimer’s is that it is one of the only age-related diseases that affects women more often them men, even after correcting for women living longer, on average, than men.

    • Photo: Jonathan Jackson

      Jonathan Jackson answered on 29 Apr 2016:

      Hi there Kristen!

      Both Stephanie and Melissa have raised interesting points about Alzheimer’s disease. Many of the tools we have developed to study the brain over the past 30 years have come from scientists trying to figure out how Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain. And the disease seems to affect women and people of color much more frequently than men and Caucasians. There are many theories why, but we’re not quite sure.

      I don’t have any love for Alzheimer’s disease – I think it is one of the most horrible things that can happen to a person who has already lived through so much, not to mention the impact on their families. What I do love is how much scientists have come together to fight the disease. Scientists all over the world, drug companies, charities, governments, and people at risk for the disease have really come together as one to beat Alzheimer’s. In the past few years, we have finally started clinical trials to see if we can prevent Alzheimer’s from happening.

      One bright point is that in some groups, the rate of Alzheimer’s has started decreasing for the first time. It turns out that eating right; managing heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes; and getting enough exercise are great ways to lower Alzheimer’s risk. You don’t have to be a great athlete or swear off pizza forever – even small changes lead to big results.

      So if I had to say my favorite thing about Alzheimer’s disease, it’s that at long last we have the ability to change our chances of having the disease. Between dietary changes and new medicines, there has never been more hope for beating Alzheimer’s.

    • Photo: Kevin Baker

      Kevin Baker answered on 2 May 2016:

      I think it is interesting that people are now starting to correlate the usage of certain medicines to higher risk of mental deterioration. Medicines that I use!

    • Photo: Kellie Jaremko

      Kellie Jaremko answered on 3 May 2016:

      Hi Kristein,

      I think Jonathan is the expert on this. I have seen this in patients and it is especially sad for the families. I was invited to a few Alzheimer’s charity events and I was really impressed with how hard the organizations worked to get medical research and information out to the public. I think that this type of outreach helps get the public interested in neuroscience and creates resources for families of patients which is important.