In October 2020, 12 News anchor Mike Montecalvo brought you to the front lines of The War on Alzheimer’s, introducing you to those living with this cruel, memory-robbing disease and fighting to find a cure.
Now, more than two years later — the battle rages on.
In this emotional 12 on 12 Digital Original, you’ll meet a local mom who received a life-changing diagnosis, see the struggles of being a caregiver, and get an update on efforts to stop Alzheimer’s disease in its tracks.
The War on Alzheimer’s: The Battle Continues
Interview: Alzheimer’s Association of RI
Meet the Warriors
Patrick Maloney: Patrick lost the love of his life after she spent seven years battling a rare neurodegenerative disease. Through the darkness of dementia, he communicated with his wife Susan through music, and a video of him singing to her went viral online.
Kelly Lowder: While Alzheimer’s is mostly associated with older adults, Kelly is proof the disease doesn’t discriminate. The 49-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. She’s taking part in the LEADS Study at Mass General Hospital. She shares her story in hopes of raising awareness and helping others.
Pastor Howard Jenkins: Pastor Howard essentially has two jobs: he’s the pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Providence and takes care of his parents who are both living with Alzheimer’s more than 500 miles away in Virginia. He also participates in the POINTER study at Butler Hospital which is looking to find out if living a healthier lifestyle can lower the risk of memory loss.
Dr. Stephen Salloway: Dr. Salloway is the former director of neurology and the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, but he continues to work there as a researcher. He’s currently testing new treatments, including a newly approved drug intended to help slow cognitive decline and a series of blood tests to detect the disease early on.
Resources and Links
Alzheimer’s disease has three stages: early, middle, and late. Here are some of the warning signs, according to the Alzheimer’s Association and the CDC:
- Memory loss that disrupts family life
- Challenges in solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgement
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood or personality
There are four different types of memory loss:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia
Participate in a Study
Alzheimer’s Prevention Registries
One of the biggest roadblocks to developing effective prevention strategies for Alzheimer’s disease is finding volunteers to participate in studies. The goal of these prevention registries is to match willing volunteers with Alzheimer’s research studies for which they may qualify. Volunteers can sign up by completing a secure and confidential questionnaire, which takes about 20 minutes. Those who join are not required to participate in any study; it simply means they’ve given permission to be contacted if it appears they may be a good match for a study.
Join a Local Registry
Watch Part I: The War on Alzheimer’s
Reporter – Mike Montecalvo
Photographer/Editor – John Villella
Executive Producers – Jen Quinn, Shaun Towne
Graphic Designer – Lisa Mandarini
Special Thanks – Nick Blair, Lee Dooley, Susan Tracy-Durant, Karen Rezendes