(Approx. 85 minutes) - Directed and Produced by Shari Cookson and Nick Doob

While there is hope for the future as science gains momentum, millions of Americans are currently affected by the painful and deadly consequences of Alzheimer's. This verité documentary profiles seven people living with the disease, each in an advancing state of dementia, from its earliest detectable changes through death. "We wanted to capture a sense of what it was to be inside the disease," explains Shari Cookson. "Our plan was to show the progression of the illness through several stories along the way." But as Nick Doob points out: "There's nothing clear cut about it. The course of the disease is different from person to person." Adds Cookson: "They say if you've seen one person with Alzheimer's...you've seen one person with Alzheimer's."

Among the emotionally gripping stories: a mother who holds on fiercely to her simple lifestyle, yet recognizes that her memory failures are making it more difficult to do so; another mother who complains to her daughter "I have lost my independence" after failing a driving test; a woman in a nursing home who thinks her mirrored reflection is her "best friend," and who is haunted by imaginary snakes crawling over her wheelchair; a onetime computer whiz who keeps a blog to chronicle his activities while he still can; a father who no longer can remember his family, but can still steal the spotlight when performing in public with a local vocal group; a daughter who must build a fence around her farm to prevent her mother from wandering off; and the onetime host of a kids' TV show, whose wife brings him to a hospice after his body finally starts shutting down. Says Cookson: "It was moving and life changing that people let us into their lives while this intense experience was happening. You see how much the disease takes from a person, how everything you've learned and been in your life is stripped away—yet you still get these glimmers of the person." As Doob notes, "You get a feeling that there's a foundation of personality that never leaves. What makes a person a person seems to somehow sustain itself."

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Alzheimer's Disease (AD)

A progressive degenerative disease of the brain that causes impairment of memory and other cognitive abilities.

Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP)

The larger protein from which beta-amyloid is formed.

ApoE Gene

A gene that codes for a protein that carries cholesterol to and within cells; different forms of the ApoE gene are associated with differing risks for late-onset Alzheimer's disease. This gene may be referred to as a risk factor gene or a "susceptibility gene" because one form of the gene, called APOE4, is associated with the risk of developing late onset AD.

Beta-Amyloid

Derived from the amyloid precursor protein and found in plaques, the insoluble deposits outside neurons. May also be called A-beta.

Beta-Amyloid Plaque

A largely insoluble deposit found in the space between nerve cells in the brain. The plaques in Alzheimer's disease are made of beta-amyloid and other molecules, surrounded by non-nerve cells (glia) and damaged axons and dendrites from nearby neurons.

Cognitive Reserve

The brain's ability to operate effectively even when some damage to cells or brain cell communications has occurred.

Dementia

A broad term referring to a decline in cognitive function that interferes with daily life and activities. Alzheimer's disease is one form of dementia.

Functional MRI (fMRI)

An adaptation of an MRI (see magnetic resonance imaging) technique that measures brain activity during a mental task, such as one involving memory, language, or attention.

Hippocampal Formation

A structure in the brain that plays a major role in learning and memory and is involved in converting short-term to long-term memory. Also called the hippocampus.

Inflammation

The process by which the body responds to cellular injury by attempting to eliminate foreign matter and damaged tissue.

Insulin Resistance

A condition in which the pancreas makes enough insulin, but the cells do not respond properly to it; characterizes and precedes type 2 diabetes.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A diagnostic and research technique that uses magnetic fields to generate a computer image of internal structures in the body.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

A condition in which a person has cognitive problems greater than those expected for his or her age. Amnestic MCI includes memory problems, but not the personality or other cognitive problems that characterize AD.

Neurodegenerative Disease

A disease characterized by a progressive decline in the structure and function of brain tissue. These diseases include AD, Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and dementia with Lewy bodies. They are usually more common in older people.

Oligomers

Clusters of a small number of beta-amyloid peptides.

Oxidative Damage

Damage that can occur to cells when they are exposed to too many free radicals.

Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)

The radioactive tracer compound used during a PET (see Positron Emission Tomography) scan of the brain to show beta-amyloid deposits.

Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)

The radioactive tracer compound used during a PET (see Positron Emission Tomography) scan of the brain to show beta-amyloid deposits.

Synapse

The tiny gap between nerve cells across which neurotransmitters and nerve signals pass.

Tau

A protein that helps to maintain the structure of microtubules in normal nerve cells. Abnormal tau is a principal component of the paired helical filaments in neurofibrillary tangles.

Tangles

A protein that helps to maintain the structure of microtubules in normal nerve cells. Abnormal tau is a principal component of the paired helical filaments in neurofibrillary tangles.

Memory

Normal Aging

Genetic Risk Factor

Dominant and Recessive Genes

Genes and Proteins

Protein-Misfolding Disease

Cholesterol

Biomarkers

Disease-Modifying Drug

Transgenic Mice

An animal that has had a gene (such as the human APP gene) inserted into its chromosomes for the purpose of research. Mice carrying a mutated human APP gene often develop plaques in their brains as they age.

Pathology

Microglia

Insulin & Insulin Resistance

Susceptibility Gene

A variant in a cell's DNA that does not cause a disease by itself but may increase the chance that a person will develop a disease.

Susceptibility Genes

A variant in a cell's DNA that does not cause a disease by itself but may increase the chance that a person will develop a disease.

Genome-Wide Association Study

Vascular Disease

Genetics

Genetics

Normal Aging