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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Alzheimer's: the latest

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 4, 2017 3:57 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, August 4, 2017:

The numbers are staggering -- more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease.  By 2050, that figure could increase to 16 million because people are living longer and getting older.   

Alzheimer's disease is degenerative and incurable. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the disease causes a buildup of "plaques and tangles" within the brain, disrupting cell growth. As nerve cells are damaged and die, memory loss tends to be the first indicator of the disease, followed by difficulty communicating and responding to an environment. While most Alzheimer's patients are over the age of 65, early-onset Alzheimer's makes up 5% of the national count.

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are at the heart of countless research studies. Though there is still a great deal of mystery surrounding these disorders, advancements are being made. According to the Alzheimer's Association 90% of the information we have about Alzheimer's has been discovered within the last 20 years. We do a lot about Alzheimer's but still there is no known cause and it can only be slowed. 

Smart Talk checks in on Alzheimer's disease from time-to-time to get the latest news and if there has been progress in research or treatment.  That's what we'll do on Friday's show.

Appearing on the program are neurologist Dr. Paul Eslinger of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Hershey School of Medicine along with Clay Jacobs, Vice President of Programs and Services from the Alzheimer's Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter.

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Clay Jacobs - Vice President of Programs and Services, Alzheimer's Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter / Dr. Paul Eslinger - Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Hershey School of Medicine

emails

- Is there a connection between glyburide/metformin diabetic medicine and Alzheimer?                                            - Ron

- What delineates the different stages of Alzheimer's?  - Donna

- I am not sure if you talked about it but if you haven't, can you ask your guest to discuss the relationship between medication and dementia. My sister's mother in law was treated for breast cancer and I believe the medication she was treated with has been associated with early onset dementia.           - anon

- Please ask your guests if they are looking to ensure diverse participation in their new study because I have heard that race has an impact on the frequency of dementia however studies frequently do not include enough people of color to prove or disprove the relationship.                     - anon

- Does the Alzheimer's Association have any resources available to people affected by mold exposure?

I've had some sad experience with this, with friends in area senior/nursing facilities with mold issues so bad that I can smell the problem. These places should be aggressively removing all things that aid and abet mental decline, of course. But who is raising awareness about this? I have not seen anyone doing this.   - SueAnn

- For the question the woman had about the diagnosis and the clock, This American Life, another fine radio show, did a great story in Act 4 of their "It will make Sense when You're Older" Episode.

I can not recommend it enough. It totally explains the Clock Test and a truly fascinating story about a man and his struggle with the clock and trying to relearn and master it even with his diagnosis.

Below are the links to the story and even the transcript!

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/583/itll-make-sense-when-youre-older

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/583/transcript        - Megan, Camp Hill

 - What about any connection with artificial sweeteners?                                               - Donna

- There is such a lack of support in our rural areas.   I live in Franklin County but my in laws live in Huntington County.  My father in law has early dementia his care taker is his elderly wife.   I could find no support systems for them.  A Day program would be such a blessing for that area.  Neither my husband nor I can quit working at this point to provide daily care.   Caregivers really need support!   - Trina 

- Pls comment on Memory meds such as Excelon.  What proof is there that these work?      - Robert, Carlisle

 

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