ALZ Media Insider is an exclusive email for news media to assist with story ideas, resources, statistics and spokespersons related to the United States' 6th leading cause of death.

Headlines in this issue:

New Early-stage Advisors Seek to Share Insights with Media on Living with Dementia

The Alzheimer's Association recently welcomed nine new members to its 2019-2020 National Early-stage Advisory Group (ESAG).

ESAG members can be an invaluable resource for reporters covering dementia-related stories, providing personal insights and perspectives on what it's like to live with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Their personal insights can inform news articles and offer guidance to more than 5 million Americans living with the disease and their caregivers.

Members of this year's group include a former high school teacher, a truck driver, an accountant and a substance abuse counselor. They are living with various forms of dementia including: mild cognitive impairment, younger- and later-onset Alzheimer's, vascular dementia and frontal temporal dementia. All members share one common intersection — a desire to share their stories to help others living with disease.

New ESAG member Bonnie Erickson, a former business administrator from Billings, MT, was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2017 at age 57. She says she will use the next year to share lessons learned from her difficult diagnosis process to help others.

"I was left with so many questions following my diagnosis," Erickson recalls. "I want to advocate for better education and resources in the medical community. If I can help one person ease the darkness of their diagnosis, I will be making a worthwhile contribution."

  • Media Note: To speak with Erickson or another member of the Early-Stage Advisory Group, please contact Mike Lynch at the Alzheimer's Association.

Hurricane Season: How to Help People Living with Dementia

While hurricanes can have a significant impact on everyone's safety, they can be especially stressful and confusing for individuals with dementia. Being prepared and planning ahead can prevent injuries and help a person with living with the disease feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed.

September is peak hurricane season in the United States. The Alzheimer's Association offers these tips for families and caregivers to consider in advance and during a hurricane evacuation to help individuals living with dementia:

  • Plan ahead. Make a comprehensive safety plan in the event of an evacuation. If the person lives in a residential facility, learn about its evacuation plan and who is responsible for evacuating the person in the event of an emergency.
  • Leave early. If the need to evacuate is likely, do not delay. Long car rides can increase anxiety for people living with dementia. Leave as early as possible to minimize delays in traffic.
  • Remain calm. Keeping emotions in check can help establish a positive tone and minimize stress for people with dementia.
  • Stay close. Do not leave the person with dementia alone. Changes in routine, traveling and new environments may increase the risk for wandering.
  • Alert others to the diagnosis. When appropriate, share the diagnosis with others, such as first responders, hotel or shelter staff, so they can better assist.
  • Media Note: The Alzheimer's Association offers additional information on hurricane evacuations and other emergency situations as well as Association experts to help inform media reports on this timely and important issue.

$47 Million NIA Grant to Bolster U.S. POINTER Clinical Trial on Lifestyle Interventions

U.S. POINTER, the country's first large-scale study to examine whether lifestyle changes can protect memory in older Americans at risk of developing dementia, is incorporating advanced brain imaging into its study following a five-year, $47 million dollar grant by the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA).

The grant awarded recently to the University of California, Berkeley, enables UC Berkeley researchers to work with U.S. POINTER investigators to capture PET and MRI images of participants in U.S. POINTER. The clinical trial is examining whether lifestyle interventions may protect cognitive function in older adults (age 60-79). Interventions include exercise, diet, cognitive stimulation and health coaching. The new grant will enable researchers to conduct advanced brain imaging in participants to measure amyloid and tau proteins in the brain to help assess the effectiveness of these interventions, while also providing important information about the underlying biology of brain health.

"U.S. POINTER is designed to determine what lifestyle interventions have a tangible impact on our brains," said Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer's Association. "The addition of brain imaging is an important component that could provide the roadmap for brain health to reduce the risk of dementia before symptoms have a chance to appear."

U.S. POINTER was originally fully funded with $35 million from the Alzheimer's Association. It is the first study to examine these combined multidimensional interventions in a large-scale U.S.-based population.

  • Media Note: The Alzheimer's Association can connect interested media to Alzheimer's Association spokespersons and U.S. POINTER principle investigators to talk about this important study and the emerging science regarding the impact of healthy lifestyles on brain health.

Media Contact
Mike Lynch
Media phone line: 312-335-4078