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Alzheimer’s Disease

VIDEO: Watch Greg O’Brien in NOVA PBS’ ‘Can Alzheimer’s Be Stopped?’

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Watch as “investigators untangle the cause of Alzheimer’s and race to develop a cure.” Alzheimer’s disease strikes at the core of what makes us human: our capacity to think, to love and to remember. The cause of Alzheimer’s ­ and whether it can be stopped ­ is one of the greatest medical mysteries of our time. Alzheimer’s ravages the minds of over 40 million victims worldwide, stripping them of their memories and often their dignity on a poignant march that can lead to death. Join investigators as they gather clues and attempt to reconstruct the molecular chain of events that ultimately leads to dementia, and follow key researchers in the field who have helped to develop the leading theories of the…

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Could Vaccines and Antibiotics Prevent Mental Illness?

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Usually, mental illness grabs the public’s attention when it’s linked to a terrible tragedy, such as a mass shooting or a particularly heart-wrenching suicide. The public’s reaction usually is to mourn, and then to go about their lives. They dismiss the mentally ill by thinking, “These people are weak. They were brought up wrong. They’re crazy. They have something wrong with them.” Now, however, in her new book Infectious Madness: the Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness (Little, Brown; October 6, 2015) award-winning investigative science writer Harriet A. Washington presents compelling evidence that mentally ill people weren’t merely “born that way.” She claims that many mental illnesses aren’t genetic. They’re caused by viruses, much the same way viruses…

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Greg O’Brien: Learning to Live, and Not Die, with Alzheimer’s Disease

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There’s hardly a family in America that hasn’t been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. More than 5.4 million people live with the disease and 500,000 die from it each year. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging and without being able to cure or prevent it, in the next 15 years it is expected to exceed heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death. This could bankrupt Medicare. Public awareness of Alzheimer’s—a balance between science, medicine and faith—needs to change dramatically in anticipation of the looming Alzheimer’s epidemic that is headed for the baby boomer generation. This is why November has been designated as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Begun in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, who would wage his…

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