Doing Our Part for Alzheimer Research

They call us “Superagers,” and we’re part of an ongoing study of people over 80 who still lead busy, active lives.

I became involved when I responded to an item in the paper asking for participants and admit I was flattered when I was invited to join after a phone interview/memory test.

That was five years ago, and each October I take the train downtown to Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, for three interviews a week apart, that each last three hours. We also are given an MRI each year to note changes. We are paid $10 an hour and given free parking in the lot across the street. Happily, they report there has been no change in my cognition and memory thus far.

The researchers explain the purpose of the study is to helps them better understand and identify factors that cotribute to “Superaging”–the maintenance of cognitive functioning in old age.

Our interviews also lend a comparison between us and those afflicted with the disease of memory loss.

We also all agree to donate our brains to the study when we die. That was a bit off putting at first, but then I considered, “What will I do with it?” and signed the agreement.

Today I attended the 24th Annual Alzheimer Day, presented at the Feinberg Conference Center at Northwestern University in Chicago.

The Keynote speaker,Dr.Jeffrey Kaye, Director of Oregon’s Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, explained how computing technology now also has been introduced in Dementia research and care.

Unfortunately, summing up, there are no cures yet, no one knows its cause beyond some genetics, but there finally is HOPE because of so many ongoing studies throughout the world.

The conference encouraged early detection and many care options as the symptoms intensify.

But the researchers welcome (and need) more candidates for study.

If you would like to help, call the Superaging Study at Feinberg 312 -503-2716.

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