Thursday, November 08, 2007

Alzheimer's awareness

I was thinking about memory the other night while watching Heroes. There's a character called The Haitian who can extract any memory from someone's head, making it is as if that event never happened. Another character was being threatened to reveal information he knew, or The Haitian would take away the day he met his wife. Then he would remove the memory of their wedding. And then, he would take all the memories of his daughter, who had passed away. And the thought of losing everything he had left of her made him reveal what he knew.

That's all science fiction, of course, but it got me thinking about a real-life enemy that can take away your memory just like The Haitian: Alzheimer's. November is National Alzheimer's Awareness Month, and in conjunction with this, memory screenings will be held around the country. Perhaps you have a family history of Alzheimer's, dementia, or other similar affliction, and want to know your risks for them. But even if you don't have a family history, a memory screening now is a good way to establish a baseline in case your doctor needs it later in your life. Memory screening can help with the early detection of diseases like Alzheimer's, and the earlier it's detected, the sooner you can get help. Take a look at the list of locations, and take time to go or take a loved one for a screening.

If you can't make it to one of the free memory screenings on November 13, take time to peruse the Alzheimer's Foundation website, where you will find lots of helpful information. And remember, it's just as important to care for those who have the disease as it is to look for a cure. Maybe you could consider including the Alzheimer's Foundation in your holiday gift list this year.

Memories are precious to everyone. Do what you can to protect the memories of you and your loved ones.

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