(DOUG JESSOP’S JESSOP’S JOURNAL – ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) Alzheimer’s. That one word makes most people cringe. It’s the name of a dreaded disease that most everyone has heard of, but most people don’t really know that much about.
Did you know what you wanted to do for your life’s work when you were fourteen years old? Ronnie did. He was strongly involved in Scouting and decided then that he wanted to work in the non-profit world.
I noticed that Ronnie was wearing a pin with what appeared to be two bubbles. He explained that the bubbles represent the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association; “The first one represents people’s minds, their brains. So people that we serve. The other represents a beaker, which is the science behind trying to find out how to cure this disease.”
It seems that most everyone knows someone that has been impacted with Alzheimer’s. In doing some family history research Danny came upon the obituary of his grandfather’s brother. It said, “in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Utah Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.”
My mother-in-law died of Alzheimer’s Disease. Yet her death certificate did not mention that fact. I asked Ronnie what the importance of the information is. He told me that it helps build awareness and let people know why it is important to get early diagnosis of the disease and ways to prevent the disease.
Knowledge also helps push research. He pointed out something you might not know … Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. The single largest risk? Age. Through medical advancements, people are living longer. With more people living longer, more people are at risk.
What is the #1 question Ronnie gets about Alzheimer’s? “What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia.” He said, “Dementia is an umbrella term. I’ll compare it to Cancer. Cancer is an umbrella term. The next thing we want to know is, what type of cancer? Dementia is nothing more than a collection of symptoms that people have. Often times it has to do with mental and cognitive
There are about twenty types of Dementia. Alzheimer’s happens to be the most common type, about seventy to eighty percent according to Ronnie.
What causes Alzheimer’s? Medical research shows that there is some kind of correlation with a build-up of protein in the brain, something called beta amyloid plaque.
What can people do to reduce risk of getting the disease?
*Heart healthy diet
I personally saw the positive impact of music therapy in people with Alzheimer’s. Ronnie confirmed that the long-term memories are triggered by familiar music. What song from your past would be “your song” that might take you back? I asked Ronnie that question. For him it was something from Little River Band, Billy Joel, or Elton John.
We did talk about some very interesting and promising drug therapies that are showing great promise. You’ll have to watch my extended seventeen-minute interview to hear about that.
Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that enjoys a powerful and positive story.
Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com