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Family, Local Researchers Helping in Alzheimer's Fight
DAYTON -- Imagine doing something, and moments later having no memory of what you just did. It's Alzheimer's disease and it grows by the day, with 30,000 people affected in the Miami Valley. There is no cure or means to slow its progression. Some local families, in their own battle with the disease, are helping researchers in their fight to cure it.
It's been 10 years since Jack Settles got his Alzheimer's diagnosis.
Pat is Jack's high school sweetheart and loving wife of 57 years.
She is also his 24-hour caregiver. "'Cause we love each other other?" she asks Jack. "That would be a good reason, probably the best reason," Pat says giggling.
One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's, that's 5.4 million people and without a cure; that number will triple by 2050.
"That's gonna be such a burden on our health care system, such a burden on our individual families," said Dr. Lawrence Goldstick. This is all the motivation he needs to keep on doing research to help find a cure.
"It is devastating because it gets at the very essence of what we are as human beings," said Goldstick, who explains that scientists know what happens to a brain with Alzheimer's, but they're still trying to pinpoint what's causing it to break down.
Dr. Goldstick conducts clinical trials, which the Settles have participated in, and they have found some medication actually helps with cognitive function.
"The important thing we got out of that is treatment early is more important," said Goldstick.
Each study is like another piece of the puzzle, which adds to the whole picture of finding a cure.
"It's a constant hope... and at this point I don't think it will be in time for Jack but for our children," said Pat.
Scientists have identified the gene that causes Alzheimer's, and that important discovery leaves researchers with high hopes of finding a cure in the next 10 to 20 years.
You can help fund this important research at the Walk to End Alzheimer's. Sign up at http://alz.org/walk today.
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