Your Healthy Life: Russ Martin updates on the latest advancements in Alzheimers care

Your Healthy Life with Kim Carrigan
Thursday, November 9th

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness month. Russ Martin is the director of Marketing for the Boston chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Kim Carrigan interviews him on the latest breakthroughs happening every day in the field of Alzheimer's research and care. 


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

I am so pleased to have with me today Russ Martin the director of marketing for the Alzheimer's Association here in the Foster an area and I see you that you products now it's great to have in November I I think. It's it's national alzheimer's awareness month it is it is a month for us. I'm surety is that we wish this month ago when we beat Corey yes I just don't go away right yeah I mean we all talk about the happiness is going to be that they were close their doors for items though inaugural working towards absolutely. I was reading a little bit more about national. Alzheimer's awareness month and where it started 1983. I believe was the year yet. Back then we had two million people diagnosed in the country who jumped about five and a half million why jump like that T think our. I think a lot of us do just with the diagnostic process and more people are being actually diagnosed with alzheimer's disease. Think just the way that research has advanced now they know what to look for in terms of alzheimer's disease we know a lot more about you know alzheimer's disease is not your every gave every day forget promus it's actually you know there are symptoms are things to look for. And I think as we've kind of advance within the disease within the diagnostic properties of the disease. More people have been able to comfortably be diagnosed with alzheimer's disease rather than just. In all the age forgetfulness sore with dementia and exactly. Yet that that generic word dementia. Which I think for the longest period of time everybody just thought they were thinking street your world and they had dementia. What is the difference between the 21 is alzheimer's verses dimension now that we finally have you know. Made a distinction shorts all. Hammers to mention is actually type of dementia. It's narrowed degenerate to do that degenerative disease sorry I was gonna Alpharma on. And there right now is no prevention or treatment or cure. It is the six leading cause of death and as I said right now there's no way to really slow it down. Some other types of dementia you can live with a little bit longer doesn't necessarily lead to death but alzheimer's disease and fortunately as well and is. Why do people die. Of alzheimer's yes so kind of the 101000 foot view of it is that you gets you know clock over over your brain that basically starts to encompass the brain you get tangles. Of tau and amyloid and basically what that does is supposed to shut down the brain segment by segment and unfortunately at some point you just can't live without. Right right and that's what ultimately. Went into someone's demise let's talk about you said there are symptoms I think a lot of people and I mean. And alzheimer's is certainly not a funny thing at all there's nothing to joke about but we. We do have attended tendency to say oh gosh I can't remember. You know so Wednesday August open knocking alzheimer's. We save that but it's not funny and is that how it starts gives you said there's some real distinctions. Yeah there's different signs. You know one of the one of the biggest warning signs that I've always kind of said did individuals is you know I have I'm thirty years old I have the ability deferred oracle my keys. The differences I have the ability to then retraced my steps back to figure all right so much he saw no no after I got dressed before showered before it came home Michael McKee is there. Someone with alzheimer's disease or developing alzheimer's disease might not be able to retrace those steps back and that's one of the early warning signs is when there's just complete confusion about. Aware that I do why am I here how to get here on the other sciences confusion conversation perhaps forgetting word. But forgetting award consistently too and not that oh it's on the tip my tong I can't quite right there sure later you say of course but realistically kinda just forgetting. We you know how to hold a conversation how to actually go back and forth with some there's also lots of space. And what we mean by that is wandering a lot of times someone with alzheimer's disease will go out and start to wander. On the loose track of where they are that's why a lot of times people the keys from the cars taken away from the alzheimer's disease because. Unfortunately they just don't have the ability to drive in that picture more. It seems to mean that it's for getting the process even more than what the ultimate result it's. Yeah it's just how unfortunately and I and I would do that my grandmother was diagnosed arrest reached possibly arrest when he seven. And while that is our time yeah hello longest cases of alzheimer's disease. Beside him and she just that you lose kind of everyday functions and and also and it goes you know advocates a little bit deeper in the stages get rougher and you know it's really pretty horrific disease it's something that you know. You wish on no no family no individual ever but unfortunately it's here right now it's something that we have to combats. I'm talking this morning with Russ Martin and he is the marketing director for the Boston chapter of the Alzheimer's Association this is. Alzheimer's awareness month November and we wanted to bring TU in this pod cast more information about where we are in this process. Some days Russ I hear really good news like it looks like we're right on the edge of a breakthrough. And I feel like we never get any further than that so can you sense over you know the last. Decades. How where we've come from and where we're headed here. Absolutely I think though lose the first thing and it's one of the early things I learned when I joined the Alzheimer's Association as I was assumed research was one day we don't have secure the next day we have secure and and you don't realize the steps that go into getting from eight could be within the research world. In the past few years they've taken huge strides forward and diagnostics. Being able to actually now there on the verge of having a blood test to tell if someone has alzheimer's disease and artwork before used to to the that's stands CT scans kind of kind of a portfolio of testing that ended with yes you probably have alzheimer's disease. Now there are actually working on this and a blood test there's also another test that. The connection doctor someone I like to see if they might have early stage alzheimer's disease so that's a huge step because when you're able to catch earlier. Here one of them combats in the symptoms of open earlier you can actually. You know before someone has. Pete used the phrase but full blown alzheimer's disease or there a bit past where some of the some of the medicine that can take to. Reduce the symptoms is available. If you can get earlier you might be it would actually prevent alzheimer's disease so when we talked to a lot of our top researchers right now a lot of which are based in Boston were very lucky the Boston's just a research hall. Industrie in our backyard a lot of them are very very excited about preventative measures right now and mom they say were probably on a couple of years away from something that could actually be of substantial preventative measure for alzheimer's disease. That said treatments and cures which cures obviously the ultimate goal is probably a little bit further down but as they said it's it's knowing that there's steps to everything Sharia after you are able to diagnose something properly then you can start to prevent it and could start to treat it and ultimately secure. And I notice you also in that process is just figuring out why curse exactly yeah and an understanding why it happens to you. To you know someone who may have no history of it in the family as opposed to someone who has a lot of history and I am I mean if we really say if you have a brain yours you're susceptible alzheimer's disease which is really scary. You know it's it's been shown that some strands can be hereditary but realistically that's not necessarily true so we don't necessarily know for getting it from our parents are we're getting is from aluminum foil. Is that correct or not I I don't see in us don't know our Diana I think they know what's happening within now in terms of how it develops through the course of the brand through the stages. But realistically I don't think we quite can say with any certainty that your getting it from this you know to your property. And that I think is so interesting about alzheimer's disease is that. Someone can be diagnosed and live as your grandmother did it for 24. Gears up. An and others are are diagnosed and within just a short matter of time when I say shortly at a time images in years action but short years yeah. They're they're gone. So that too is it beyond sat in there and the response to the disease is really individualistic. It is and it's very and yeah that's it's really unfair that's from the past when they're. You know I watch my grandmother and in against the she lost under the cognitive ability within probably the first five to seven years but other watchers physically incredibly healthy mom and that's pushes it to sustain and keep moving keep going forward. A lot of times when you have early onset alzheimer's which which it's a younger demographic we have. Individuals in the forties and fifties actually have early onset alzheimer's it tends even more aggressive. And doubt then that tends to be wary you know it's up to 2425. Years attends anymore like the 570 arranged. What is the average age someone starts to show signs and then you know ultimately is titans sure I don't business original older age or and essar an average age it's like 65 pos is where we do a lot of our measuring the bomb we tend to us today you know 65 pluses to where we get a lot of metrics from auto parts out of from now again there is a younger onset group. That's anything under 65. But the majority of its is sixty plus well. So when if person is diagnosed what are the steps that bad individual definitely go through in the early stages yes so typically they wanna set up on the with a primary care physician on the go through some basic memory tests from there though you referred to. Neurologists I'm a bit more memory specialist the average estimate that we now different types of scans of their pets can CT scan. And ultimately we hope that it leads to a diagnosis actually one of the biggest numbers that we're trying to combat rate now is is what we call the ninety vs 45 number. And 90% of people with cancer are diagnosed with cancer all 45% of people alzheimer's it looks. And so we want you wanna encourage physicians to be more comfortable to diagnose alzheimer's disease to be more certain about it because. The sooner that there'll it would be diagnosed yesterday and hope we contact us. And we can search have our teams work with them. To you know understand what's coming down the road that the about the problem understand how we can help support the caregivers and lives not just the individual with the disease it's so important also be there for the caregivers take immense amount of stress during this time. And so for us you know there earlier some can be diagnosed earlier that we can hopefully connect with them and then hopefully we can we can kind of be there with them throat you know of the disease. A little quicker and a little earlier. Yes you re no there's no disease modifying treatments however what there ours some of the symptoms. Can be held off a little bit of you know it you'll still progress the same way with the disease you might just be a little bit more. In a clear headed dated something like god simplest. Which is when there's a big deal makes a huge deal absolutely unfortunately you know as we've seen a few times and I saw my grandmother to choose and some of these early trials and drugs. In Hershey she kind of fell off pretty quickly after you know the drug no longer had the sort of effect on her and keep a little bit more loose and all the sudden shoes panic on very quickly. Which is why we salute you workings on the DQ you know pushing researchers as much as possible. Or Spartan is with me today and we're talking about alzheimer's disease. Fundraising has been good yes yes funders and yet always do better though of course. What I do what we owe it to say that I never once they tell it where there. But there are a lot of dollars and means a lot of efforts there is yeah there's a lot of dollars coming in from a lot of different ways is really exciting mom just in the mass New Hampshire chapter we have incredible support an individual givers is incredible corporate sponsors. We have a public policy team that works incredibly hard to get us into the state budgets from more money you know it's often been sent by our national office that we need to billion dollars a year dedicated. To research. Quite there yet we're getting closer. But we need be you know we need to get to the two billion dollar market and a lot of that's gonna come from. You know our advocates and our public policy team really pushing the government to understand this is an epidemic it's not sure there's a way that it's here now. Absolutely. So for those who are listening today. A couple of things there are people out there who listening right now worth thinking. Oh my mother has been acting a little bit strange or I've been having some problems. So walk those people what's the steps right now listening and hearing your voice what should they do. Yeah I think typically when a contractor PCP your primary care physician and you're gonna wanna go and sit down and talk to her and first and foremost I think they're the they tend to be the individuals that can tell you if it's something that actually be escalated up to a neurologist her memory specialist or for something that you know you don't really have to be worried about it I think. In I can even say in my own family people are very scared marketing alzheimer's disease in the fall assortment out forgets his keys the you know he gets a little bit nervous about it because his medals I'm an artist and also on. You know five minutes later he finds that he's he's totally good ago. And so I you know I think what we ties they want us to Kosier PCP. Talk about a with a professional someone who can you know tell you that yes this is something that you may want us going and worry about know your OK don't worry about it like you know it's just part of that's part of the cruelty hearted liberals you doesn't it. You know it's that that constant your father for example someone who's Hannity and his family. Bloodline and you have that constant fear that you know I'm not thinking straight exactly. You're just tired exactly. And that and in its. It's not a part of normal aging but we offered at the hands and that's kind of the difference. Different than we have to understand. Now let's talk with the people who are listening right now who are not concerned about having alzheimer's or anybody their feeling that they weren't getting involved because they just recognize this as being an epidemic in our in our society we've got to do something about how people get involved. Yeah soon. Volunteer. The bloodline and any nonprofit arts especially as our volunteers and whether you are helping people advocating on you know Beacon Hill whether you are cheering on our runners for the Boston Marathon whether you're walking we just held pole walks. Broke Murray's ball four point five million dollars looks like we're and hit the mark. That is. Pushed forward by our volunteers. We always need more volunteers come into the office to help us make phone calls thank you calls. You know really just any nonprofit needs volunteers. And if someone wants to get involved I would I would really strongly suggest the go to sales dot org slash anime NH check out volunteer opportunities and who loved to see you know our offices and or some assuming there's also have a lot of outreach for families we do yep yeah we have a whole programs and services division department at our chapter. We were acquitted families and individuals we make sure that they have support groups educational programs. We really tried we have care consultations as something that a lot of times happens after a diagnosis is. You come to our office to sit down with one of our care consultants and they'll really get you going on the map of this is you know this is what where you are right now this how we can help you this what we wanna set in place and those are also really really helpful for the families and individuals the coming. Well as you said he is day unbelievably stressful experience. And those people feel I'm sure that they are frequently alone and they're not alone you know people need help with these kinds of things happen and their families they're there. Certainly not alone there's huge community of support out there and a lot of times we've seen that some of the most empowered individuals are the ones that have been diagnosed with alzheimer's disease their voices carry so much week. Whether it's in advocacy or whether it's a walk. It's amazing the support and the strength of these people give all of us that the association by their voice and a lot of times he's of the people that are actually leading. To change in all the different areas that we worked as an association and past. And finally as we as we wrap things up today. Give me a sense of your optimism will we find a cure in our lifetime will there be a cure what do you think I say yes. And as the head of PR provisions that yes but I'm very optimistic I IE. Around such incredible people around that fiercely passionate people every single day and there's such a drive to. Understand that we need to cure we can't afford to not have a cure just based on the numbers alone. And so with the amount of resource is with the amount of dedication from researchers around Austin but also internationally. I'm very very confident that we will find a cure and hopefully one day soon now I'll be looking for a job and a resident back out on the via the job posting boards. But over overall we're all excited about where we are and all we can do is push forward and you know that is. There's always things that can can get in the way but for us it's just figure out a way around girl from then on the next step and I am very confident wanted it to this will be a thing of the past fantastic Smart and so great to have you back what Corey information you've had forests that weaker papers thank you grab me appreciate you've bed and thanks to all of you for listening to your healthy life on Kim cared.