(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."
Momentum in Science: The Supplementary Series
- Understanding and Attacking Alzheimer's 12 min
- How Far We Have Come in Alzheimer's Research 15 min
- Identifying Mild Cognitive Impairment 20 min
- The Role of Genetics in Alzheimer's 12 min
- Advances in Brain Imaging 11 min
- Looking Into the Future of Alzheimer's 6 min
- The Connection Between Insulin and Alzheimer's 21 min
- Inflammation, the Immune System, and Alzheimer's 29 min
- The Benefit of Diet and Exercise in Alzheimer's 16 min
- Cognitive Reserve: What the Religious Orders Study is Revealing about Alzheimer's 20 min
- Searching for an Alzheimer's Cure: The Story of Flurizan 30 min
- The Pulse of Drug Development 15 min
- The DeMoe Family: Early-Onset Alzheimer's Genetics 25 min
- The Nanney/Felts Family: Late-Onset Alzheimer's Genetics 20 min
- The Quest for Biomarkers 17 min
- Hope in Science
Scientists have made great advances in understanding the cause, diagnosis, and possible treatments of Alzheimer's disease. Find out more.
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- One out of eight people age 65 or older has Alzheimer's. The number of people with the disease doubles for every 5-year age interval beyond age 65.
- Today, the direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid for care of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias and the indirect costs to business for employees who are caring for Alzheimer's amount to more than $148 billion annually.
- 54% of the adult U.S. population has been touched by Alzheimer's. Read more.