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It’s on the news. It’s the topic of conversations. It’s even the subject of movies. What do you think of when you hear Alzheimer’s? Do you think senile? Do you think “old people’s disease”? Maybe you think of someone you know, a parent, neighbor or friend. Maybe you even wonder about yourself.
The Alzheimer’s Association says Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain that occurs gradually, resulting in memory loss, changes in behavior, thinking, reasoning, and a decline in overall functioning and ability.
As the disease progresses, plaques build up in the spaces between nerve cells in the brain, and tangles of twisted fibrous protein build up inside the cells. Experts tell us these plaques and tangles block the communication among nerve cells, and as these nerve cells die, memory fails.
A face to the disease
Los Alamos residents Jim and Deb Dalton are living with Alzheimer’s. Jim, 54, has early onset Alzheimer’s. Deb is his care partner.
Until almost two years ago Jim worked at the lab in the facilities department. He is a husky man, strong, able-bodied and quite healthy-looking with a warm, wonderful sense of humor. He enjoys photography now, saying it helps him to remember.
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