A group of 58 donors and guests met recently outside Philadelphia, to listen to updates on current Alzheimer’s research. David Shenk, author of The Forgetting, and Dr. Virginia Lee of The University of Pennsylvania spoke about current investigative trends. Local host and IT consultant Cathy Ingham welcomed the group by explaining her reason for becoming involved with Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Cathy lost her father to the disease just weeks before. “What happened to my dad should not happen to anyone. When he became sick, I went online and looked for an organization that was cutting edge–which was poised to make a difference and to do so as quickly as possible. When I saw the model Cure Alzheimer’s Fund was using, I knew these were the folks I wanted to help out.”
David explained how he came to be drawn into the fight against this horrendous disease. It was in the writing of his book that the depth and scope of this public health crisis became apparent to him, and that it stands to severely impact our society. Like many of us, he marveled that medical breakthroughs have brought down the death rates of many top killers in our society, including some cancers, HIV and heart disease. Conversely, the death rates due to Alzheimer’s disease are growing at a dramatic pace.
Questions from the audience included many popular concerns. What about recent rumors regarding dietary supplements and cures? What role does head injury play? Can exercise make a difference?
It is true that head injury can be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s. Dr. Lee also explained that rumors of miracle cures have come and gone for years, and there is something that makes us want to believe they are true. She urged everyone to use caution and focus on results that come from proven scientific methods. David pointed out that a “heart-healthy” diet and regular vigorous exercise are the only things that have been proven to impact the onset of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Lee’s husband John Trojanowski, Ph.D., also a neurobiologist at UPenn, reminded everyone that while the health care costs of a growing Alzheimer’s population are skyrocketing, the amount of money being invested in Alzheimer’s research is shrinking. He urged everyone in attendance to “let your legislators know that this is not acceptable.”
Several representatives from the Sigma Kappa sorority also were in attendance. Sigma Kappa has been supporting Alzheimer’s research for several years running.
The event was sponsored by PFG Advisors, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Lincoln Financial Distributors and LiquidHub.