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Brain donation helps researchers study brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, leading to improved treatments for future generations. While many people think that signing up to be an organ donor includes donating their brain, the purpose and the process of brain donation are different. Rather than helping to keep others alive, such as with kidney donation, brain donation helps advance scientific research. One donated brain can make a huge impact, potentially providing information for hundreds of research studies.
Click below to learn more about how you could be the brain behind the breakthrough.
Amy Goyer spent years caring for her aging parents. Her mother had a stroke in her 60s. Her father developed Alzheimer’s. On top of caring for her own parents, she also helped her sister who developed Cushing’s disease. All three eventually passed away.
The cost of caregiving is high. An AARP study shows family caregivers spend more than $7,000 on average each year. It’s usually more when Goyer tried to care for her entire family and it left her bankrupt. Now she helps other families facing caregiving dilemmas as an AARP family caregiving expert.
“I’ve been a caregiver pretty much my entire adult life,” she said.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the buildup of a protein called beta-amyloid, which forms sticky plaques on the brain and can cause brain cells to die. Testing for the presence of these amyloid plaques on the brain is an important part of Alzheimer’s diagnosis and research.
A study, funded in part by NIA, found that a new blood test can accurately predict the presence of beta-amyloid in the brain. The blood test became even more accurate when the research team took into account the version of APOE (a gene linked to Alzheimer’s risk) that each person had. Scientists note that the blood test performs comparably to existing brain scan- or spinal tap-based tests. However, the blood samples used in the study were from majority white, affluent individuals, and may not be generalizable to other demographic groups.
Using blood samples will make it easier to screen healthy people for potential enrollment in Alzheimer’s clinical trials and could help lower costs and expand the availability of diagnostic studies for Alzheimer’s.
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One of the defining moments of Karen Bond’s professional career came about five years ago. “For years, I had worked really hard to become president of Executive Alliance,” she said of the nonprofit dedicated to helping professional women succeed in leadership roles.
At the time, Bond was taking care of her mother who had dementia along with being a mother to her daughter and having a thriving professional career. “The day of our Women of Excellence luncheon, that I had always dreamed that my mother would be able to be there and see that achievement, was the day that my caregiver didn’t show up and I was scheduled to be in front of a thousand women. I barely got there in time.”
Caregiving can be extremely challenging for professional women as many must juggle their careers with motherhood and with their elderly parents/relatives. While home health care aides can help, a majority of women take on the caregiving responsibility themselves.
From: The Daily Record (Maryland)
This week, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in partnership with Equimundo, released their report on the depiction of men as caregivers in entertainment media. While depictions of men as caregivers is growing and some bright spots are out there, mainstream entertainment continues to negate male care givers’ vast numbers and capacities. This decades old trend in Hollywood storytelling represents the worst kind of intellectual laziness. Such retrogressive narratives, masquerading as entertainment, create flat two dimensional male characters resulting in narratives which limit viewer engagement while also fostering in the continuation of a culture that seeks to dump care giving exclusively on women.
From: The Good Man Project
Regular exercise, respite breaks and connecting with others will help you in this challenging role.
“Since my mom was recently diagnosed with dementia, I’ve been confused about what to do,” said the 50-year-old woman at a neighborhood barbecue, balancing a paper plate with a hot dog and potato salad. “Different people give me advice about helping her and making sure I’m all right, but that advice isn’t always the same. I feel like I have to figure this out on my own.”
Her confusion distressed me. There are millions of Americans in her position and tens of millions more who’ve gone through caregiving in the past. No one starting out as a caregiver, in my opinion, should have to reinvent the wheel. Yet when a parent or spouse is revealed to need care, most people feel lost about what to do. My neighbor wasn’t exactly looking for me to give her more advice — it sounded like she’d had her fill already — but was hoping for a hint at least about where to start.
Click the link below to continue reading the entire article by AARP's Barry Jacobs.
Whether in a medical professional setting or personal homes, Caregivers are caring and caring takes energy, wisdom and compassion. This Caregiver Blog is here to give you insight, encouragement and tools, not just to give care but to survive and thrive while doing it.