Thursday, December 4, 2014

Julianne Moore Grapples With Alzheimer’s in ‘Still Alice’....

Julianne Moore confronts early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in ‘Still Alice.’ Alec Baldwin plays her less-than-heroic husband and Kristen Stewart her daughter.
In “Still Alice,” Julianne Moore plays a 50-year-old professor of linguistics at Columbia University, who while jogging on campus one day finds herself baffled about where she is. That and other symptoms of memory loss lead to a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The drama takes a painstakingly realistic approach as Alice tries to cling to her identity. If she can’t use words, who is she? It also charts the sometimes devastating effect on her family. Kristen Stewart plays her youngest child; their fraught relationship is particularly tested.
Ms. Moore is likely to get Oscar recognition; Alec Baldwin also plays an important part as Alice’s husband. (He also acted husband to last year’s best- actress Oscar winner, Cate Blanchett, in “Blue Jasmine.”) He plays a good man, yet far from the heroic husband who might be expected in a film about a disease. He has his own ambitions, and doesn’t want life to just come to a halt for the family.
“This is a man who clearly feels that if he keeps moving forward he can slow down or even sidestep what’s happening to his wife,” Mr., Baldwin said via email. “I think in the end he is just afraid and makes his decisions from that place.”
Although the film is based on a novel, by Lisa Genova, its realism was informed by its writing-directing team of Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (“Quinceanera” in 2006).
Mr. Westmoreland is the husband of Mr. Glatzer, who was diagnosed with the motor neuron disease ALS in 2011. While his physical deterioration was different from the fictional Alice’s mental loss of faculties, both conditions cause irreversible declines. Mr. Glatzer co-directed the film from his wheelchair, able to type out messages with only one finger.
And just as the film sounds more unrelentingly grim than it is, there was humor during production. “Richard’s condition is obviously heartbreaking, but it also led to some funny moments on the set,” Mr. Baldwin said. At times, Mr. Glatzer would clarify Mr. Westmoreland’s direction to the actors. “One day, I blurted out, ‘Oh great! I’m working with a tandem directing team and the guy with the good notes has ALS’, and everyone laughed,” Mr. Baldwin said. The film plays one week in New York, then hits theaters again starting Jan. 16.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

B. Smith, former model stricken with Alzheimer’s get lost.

Alzheimer’s-stricken ex-model B. Smith.

Alzheimer’s-stricken ex-model B. Smith traveled more than 50 miles — from the top of Manhattan to the tip of Staten Island — after vanishing earlier this week, her husband has revealed.
The pioneering celebrity, 65, was found Wednesday at the La Parisienne Coffee House on Seventh Ave. a day after she went missing while heading out to the Hamptons. “Just for the record, here’s what B experienced, so there are no rumors,” husband Dan Gasby wrote on Facebook.
Gasby went on to describe her mysterious journey:
Smith, after traveling to Midtown from the Hamptons, walked north to Harlem. At some point, she turned around and headed back south, marching all the way to the Staten Island Ferry.
She took the ferry to Staten Island, hopped on a bus and eventually made her way back to the terminal.
After returning to Manhattan, she walked all the way to La Parisienne near W. 57th St. “where a friend happened to see her,” Gasby wrote.
Smith, one of the first African-American models to grace the cover of Mademoiselle, had last been seen about 8 p.m. Tuesday getting off the Hampton Jitney in Southampton.
Her husband called the cops after he learned she had inexplicably hopped off the bus before the Sag Harbor stop. It isn’t known how Smith got to Manhattan from the Hamptons.
A frantic search was launched.
Smith, whose first name is Barbara, was located after she was spotted eating at La Parisienne with an older woman.
In June, Smith spoke candidly about her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
You do try to hide it from everybody,” she told CBS News.
Smith — despite not being able to recall the date, month or year — remained hopeful about her prognosis.
“I think the future’s going to be fine,” she said. “I’m going to do my best to make it work out for me, and for as many people that I can possibly help, too.”
Smith couldn’t be reached Friday.
Following her modeling career, she jumped into the restaurant business, opening her first B. Smith restaurant in the city in 1986. She launched two others in the year that followed.
The tireless Smith was also the host of “B. Smith With Style,” a nationally syndicated talk show that aired in the mid-1990s on NBC 4 New York and on NBC affiliates across the country.
In April, after closing her restaurants, Smith and Gasby sold their Central Park West apartment for nearly $6 million and moved east to Sag Harbor.
In his Thursday Facebook post, Smith’s husband said he’s determined to help steer her through the crippling neurological disorder.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Midlife Diabetes Linked to Memory Problems Later

Blood sugar disorder associated with 19 percent greater decline in thinking skills, study reports
HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A midlife diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes may raise the risk of memory and thinking problems over the next 20 years, new research suggests.
Having diabetes in midlife was linked with a 19 percent greater decline in memory and thinking (cognitive) skills over 20 years, according to the new study.
"What we saw was, people with prediabetes, diabetes and poorly controlled diabetes had the higher risks of cognitive decline. The people with the worse cognitive decline were those with poorly controlled diabetes," said study researcher Elizabeth Selvin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
However, the study authors acknowledged that this study was only able to find an association between diabetes and prediabetes and an increased risk of memory and thinking problems later in life. It wasn't able to determine if the blood sugar disorders were the actual cause of the memory and thinking issues.
Findings from the study are published in the Dec. 2 Annals of Internal Medicine. It was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
About 21 million U.S. adults have diabetes, according to background information in the study. In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn't use the hormone insulin effectively. Insulin helps get the sugars from foods into the body's cells to be used for energy. Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness and kidney disease, according to the study.
Diabetes has also been linked with dementia risk, but how diabetes relates to earlier declines in memory and thinking is less well known, the study authors wrote.
"We know that cognitive decline occurs five to seven years before dementia. Our goal was to look at how diabetes might be contributing," Selvin said.
The new research followed more than 13,000 middle-aged adults over 20 years. They came from four states: Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina. At the start of the study -- 1990 to 1992 -- the study volunteers were 48 to 67 years old.
Selvin and her colleagues evaluated the study participants' memory and thinking abilities at three different visits over the years. The researchers also had data on whether the volunteers had diabetes or prediabetes, as well as their blood sugar levels at various times in the study.
The researchers measured declines in thinking and memory on a continuum, so it's difficult to give exact measures of the decline linked to the diabetes, Selvin said. But, on average, a 60-year-old who has diabetes has cognitive decline on par with a healthy 65-year-old who is aging normally, according to the researchers.
The study also found that memory and thinking decline was greater for people with prediabetes compared to people with normal blood sugar levels. And, people with diabetes who had higher blood sugar levels (measured as an HbA1C of more than 7 percent) had an even greater risk than those who had lower average blood sugar levels. (HbA1C is a measurement that estimates average blood sugar levels over two to three months, according to the American Diabetes Association.)
The researchers also noted that people who had diabetes for a longer time had more significant memory and thinking problems later in life.
Exactly why the two are linked is unclear, Selvin said. But it could be related to common effects on the blood vessel, she said. Diabetes-related damage to blood vessels may also trigger cognitive changes.
"The study is consistent with other literature we have seen," said Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer's Association. Snyder reviewed the study's findings.
Those with diabetes appear to be at greater risk of cognitive problems, she said, but added, "not everyone with diabetes goes on to develop greater cognitive decline."
The findings demonstrate another good reason to try to prevent diabetes, Selvin said. Losing excess weight, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help prevent type 2 diabetes, she noted.
More information
To learn more about the stages of Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association.
SOURCES: Elizabeth Selvin, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Md.; Heather Snyder, Ph.D., director medical and scientific operations, Alzheimer's Association; Dec. 2, 2014, Annals of Internal Medicine

Friday, November 14, 2014

Autopsy: Robin Williams had Lewy body dementia

The hallucination-causing disease may have contributed to his decision to commit suicide

According to his official autopsy, actor and comedian Robin Williams had a disease called Lewy body dementia (LBD), which may have contributed to his decision to kill himself.
People with LBD have dementia and often appear disoriented. According to ABC News, Williams had displayed odd behavior in his final days — notably, he kept several watches in a sock and was “concerned about keeping the watches safe.”
“The dementia usually leads to significant cognitive impairment that interferes with everyday life,” said Angela Taylor, programming director of the Lewy Body Dementia Association in an interview with ABC News. Still, symptoms are hard to spot. “If you didn’t know them you may not realize anything is wrong.”

LBD is fairly common, with 1.3 million people suffering from the illness in the United States, although it largely remains undiagnosed since it shares symptoms with better-known diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Biologically, the disease stems from abnormal proLBD, the deposits spread throughout the brain, including to the cerebral cortex (responsible for problem solving and perception). The main symptom is progressive dementia, although people with the disease may also experience complicated visual hallucinations that could include smells and sounds, trouble sleeping, changes in attention and symptoms generally associated with Parkinson’s disease (which Williams also had).
tein deposits in the brain stem where they stop the production of dopamine. In
Typically, patients are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease first, and then LBD symptoms begin to appear. An examination of Williams’ brain revealed that it had undergone changes associated with Alzheimer’s, in addition to Parkinson’s and LBD.
“Though his death is terribly sad,” Taylor said, “it’s a good opportunity to inform people about this disease and the importance of early diagnosis.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Finishing my speech on the "Purple" Queen Mary 11-8-2014
Platform Award for Alzheimer's
Woman of Achievement
Queen Mary 11-9-2014
I was honored this past year to acquired the title of Ms. Northern Nevada 2014 for the Woman of Achievement pageant program. I choose this pageant because the value they place on Platforms. Marlena Martin, President and owner of this pageant understand that not all pageants are created equal and wanted to be sure to create a program that lets woman shine when it comes to community service and there platforms. of the divisions is speech or talent. The pageants I competed in during my 20s I was able to share the joys of singing; however now that I am older I appreciate my voice being heard on a different level and that is through the art of speech. Speech didn't come easy for me. The year my parents divorced and we went from having a home to nothing, I struggled with saying my "s" correctly. I remember my 2nd grade teacher bringing me over to introduce me to another teacher.  She said "Brooke, show Mrs. Jones your S's". and I did.. Not knowing I was talking like Daffy Duck... Yes this is true.. And I was so proud to show me saying my S's with my tongue right between my teeth...

Receiving a check for $500 for 1st place for speech.
Thank you Vegan Therapy
I was placed into a special speech class from 2nd grade to 3rd grade. My English and writing has always been something that I have had to work very hard at. I like to think of it as a muscle. It was beyond weak and with the help of finding myself and telling myself I could achieve and overcome this obstacle, I have been able to acquire the gift of the gab. Or some people do call me the babbling Brook.... Over this past weekend was pageant nationals for Ms. Woman of Achievement, United States of America program. I choose for the first time in my life to do a speech for talent instead of signing. I haven't done a platform speech in years. The week before I left for the pageant I almost changed my speech to a talent of singing.

I am thrilled I didn't do this... I put a lot of thought into how I would capture the moments, the words the feelings about what I am going to do and what I am currently doing with my Alzheimer's work, and as I lay in bed one night it came to me... "PURPLE". This is the title of my speech and you will see why. Enjoy. I am happy to say I won overall platform and I won overall speech, bringing home $500.00 cash  from Vegan Therapy for my platform project "Remember My Photo".
All I can say is look out world. I am changing it one day at a time and I am a voice that is being heard.
Showing off my "Platform" Board for Alzheimer's
Remember My Photo

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Honor a Caregiver Today

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. In the United States, there are more than 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers. We want to send these exceptional people a big “thank you” for everything they do. Honor them by sharing your tribute message!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Glen Campbel's-A Farewell to His Fans and Himself

On the Road With Alzheimer’s in ‘I’ll Be Me’

From the very first scene, “I’ll Be Me”signals that it is not going to be a conventional documentary about a celebrity, in this case the country-pop singer and guitarist Glen Campbell. As Mr. Campbell sits in a darkened room watching home movies of his younger self, he asks his wife, Kim, “Who is that?”
“It’s you, honey,” she replies, “it’s a movie about you,” to which he, still puzzled, replies: “No kidding? I’ll be me.”
In 2011, Mr. Campbell, then 75, revealed that he had Alzheimer’s disease and announced a series of farewell concerts for that fall. So “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me,” opening Oct. 24, was conceived as a behind-the-scenes record both of that final tour and of the difficult struggle of Mr. Campbell and his family against an incurable disease that afflicts more than five million Americans.
“The more we learned about Alzheimer’s, the more we wanted to shine a light on it and the more we became aware of the potential of this movie to be a catalyst for change,” said Mrs. Campbell, a former Radio City Music Hall dancer who met the singer on a blind date in 1981. “It turned into something bigger than we had imagined.”
The original plan, said the film’s director, James Keach, was to follow Mr. Campbell on what was envisioned as a five-week tour. But that undertaking grew into 151 shows over 15 months, and Mr. Keach, operating with a very small crew, continued to tag along, even when the Campbells were at his doctor’s office or at home with family or friends.
“It was daunting, the idea of doing it, because how do you make something that is entertaining about a man with Alzheimer’s?” said Mr. Keach, who has directed episodes of numerous television shows and was also the co-producer of “Walk the Line,” the 2005 biopic about Johnny Cash. “In some ways, it’s more difficult than having a scripted movie, because there you have your structure figured out. In this case, you go from Stage 2 to Stage 4 or 5 of Alzheimer’s, and you have to be true to that.”
Mrs. Campbell also had a camera and shot events at home. The film does not emphasize moments that may be painful or embarrassing to watch, but neither does it flinch from them: Mr. Campbell is shown erupting in rage as his dementia worsens, and one discussion in his doctor’s office focuses on the singer’s difficulty in finding the toilet in hotel rooms and his own bedroom, which leads him to urinate in wastebaskets.
Mr. Keach said that one of the lessons he learned from “Walk the Line” focus groups that saw Johnny Cash consuming drugs was that “a little bit goes a long way” in showing such frailties. For her part, Mrs. Campbell said she trusted Mr. Keach to “edit and tailor the film to protect Glen’s dignity” while at the same time “telling the truth about this disease.”
In documentaries that get in so close to their subjects’ lives, especially those unable to fend for themselves, the moral issue of informed consent often arises. But in Mr. Campbell’s case, “he not only had the capacity, he had the desire” to have his situation documented, Mr. Keach said.
Mrs. Campbell added: “In the early stages of this disease, your short-term memory begins to falter, but you are still cognizant of what is going on and can still make decisions. Glen was fully aware of his diagnosis and what we were attempting to do.”
(Last month, Mr. Campbell and his management were sued by a Los Angeles-based media production company, which accused him of reneging on an agreement to make the documentary with it. In a statement issued last week, a lawyer for the film’s producers, Lisa Callif, said they do not “have any personal knowledge of the allegations set forth in the complaint.”)
The film has numerous concert sequences showing the highs and lows of Mr. Campbell’s performances as well as the compassion of audiences that knew they were getting their last glimpse of him. At the beginning of the tour, Mr. Campbell is still playing guitar fluidly, though often struggling to remember lyrics, but by the last show, in Napa, Calif., on Nov. 30, 2012, even his dexterity is suffering.
“It was almost like a game of roulette,” said Ashley Campbell, the singer’s youngest daughter, now 27, who played keyboards and banjo in the tour band, which also included her brothers Shannon and Cal. “You’d have a great show and then a difficult show, and you’d start to wonder, ‘Oh no, is this getting towards the end?’ ”
Mr. Campbell has been a part of the American musical landscape for so long that it is easy to forget that he has played many roles. As the country music stars Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban note in the film, he was instrumental in bringing their genre into the pop mainstream in the late 1960s, but before that, he was a session musician on dozens of Top 10 pop hits and even toured as a member of the Beach Boys.
“He had this overall musicality, and was born with an encyclopedic knowledge of keys,” said the songwriter Jimmy Webb, a friend since 1967 who wrote “By The Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman” and other hits for Mr. Campbell. “He’d take a scrap of paper and turn it into an arrangement, and did so many times for the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas. He was more entertaining to work with than almost anyone because of the childish excitement he brought to that process.”
Films about musicians struggling with adversity, “Searching for Sugar Man” and “20 Feet from Stardom,” have won the Oscar in the feature documentary category the last two years. “I’ll Be Me” is already getting some Oscar buzz, but Mr. Keach said his film “is not a music doc, it’s about a man battling a disease and going out on the stage every night not knowing where he is.”
But the film also offers a broader examination of Alzheimer’s impact on society. In one particularly emotional scene, Ashley Campbell testifies before Congress about her father beginning to forget who she is, and in another, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell visit the House minority leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, and push for more funding for Alzheimer’s research.
The film represents an important educational opportunity, said Dr. Ronald C. Petersen of the Mayo Clinic, who diagnosed Mr. Campbell’s disease and is also chairman of a nationalAlzheimer’s advisory council. “One of our biggest struggles is still getting people to acknowledge this disease,” he added. “So we need to embrace this and say he didn’t do anything wrong in his life to bring this on, that this can happen to virtually anyone.”
Sony Pictures Classics plans to release another movie this year that should also raise Alzheimer’s awareness, the fictional feature “Still Alice.” Based on Lisa Genova’s best-selling 2007 novel of the same name, that film stars Julianne Moore as a linguistics professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
“I’ll Be Me” features former President Bill Clinton talking about Mr. Campbell, a fellow Arkansan, and his courage in becoming a public face of Alzheimer’s. In addition, Bruce Springsteen, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mr. Paisley and the country singer Kathy Mattea weigh in, talking about family members who suffer from the disease.
Mr. Webb also appears in the film, but he said has not yet seen it and is not sure when, or even if, he will. “It’s too personal, to be frank, too painful,” he said.
“In a very real sense, Glen the artist, the virtuoso and true master of so many aspects of musicality, in many ways that Glen is gone,” he added. “And I say that as a caress and not as a dismissal. The sense of loss is so complete that it’s difficult for me to find the words.”
By spring of this year, the disease had advanced to the point that Mr. Campbell moved into what his wife described as a “memory care community,” a long-term care and treatment facility near Nashville. She visits him daily, she said, but his musical skills and awareness are now so eroded that he is sometimes not even conscious of songs being played around him.
If he’s handed a guitar, “sometimes a melody will come out,” she said, “but often it’s very dissonant and doesn’t make sense.” She continued: “But our son Shannon was with him just the other day, and Glen just sounded out the melody for ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix.’ So I do think that music is still the most deeply embedded thing in him, and it’s a delight when it comes back.”
Mr. Webb added: “It’s a curious feeling, difficult and poignant, when you reach that tipping point in the relationship where a person no longer recognizes you. I think that’s very difficult. I really wish I could go over and see him and play some songs. Really.”