Alzheimer’s Walk

On Sept. 19, 2015 the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s was held in downtown Greensboro. With great participation from North Carolina A&T and the Greensboro community at large, the Alzheimer’s Association was able to raise over $113,000 for research and medical development.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes one to loose memory over time.  The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s has very similar symptoms such as severe memory lapse, confusion, and a general decline of thinking skills.

The disease is caused by damage to the “neural architecture” of various areas in the brain. Concerning the structure of neuro cells, Alzheimer’s occurs when neurotransmitters (chemicals that send messages from one cell to the next) are disconnected from each other, become tangled, or form plaque on its receptive ends.  The brain is the center of the interrelated processes of language, memory, and communication. The dementia sufferer will experience different language deficits depending on the site of the neurological damage. This can subsequently result in loss of memory and communication all together. Although identified, the cause for this phenomenon is unknown and has yet to be cured.

There are two different types of patients when it comes to this disease: early on set and on set. Early on set patients, mostly in their 30’s-40’s, are diagnosed at an earlier age than most patients. On set patients, who are diagnosed at 60 years and older are among the more common cases of the illness. The greatest at-risk population is senior citizens age is 80 years old and up, said Dr. Goldie Byrd, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The disease is not ethnic- specific; Alzheimer’s can trouble any race. However, Blacks are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to Hispanic and non-Hispanics  (Whites), says Dr. Goldie Byrd. The significant difference in the contraction rates for Blacks makes the demand for a cure higher than ever before. African- American communities are in great need for medical research and progress. Scientists around the world are coming close together to test patients from different walks of life. Even still, the results for clinical trials show a significant lack of African- American patients. North Carolina A&T, through its Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s Aging and Community Health (COAACH), is working to fill that void by conducting research in the African-American Community and raising student awareness.

Participation and awareness among young adults is crucial and highly encouraged because young people are needed as caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients. It is important for people to know about the illness in the event a family member is diagnosed. From the great deal of Aggie involvement through research and community service, it is clear that the university as a whole is dedicated to educating its population about the illness, and fight for the cure to end Alzheimer’s.

 

Emani Reeves – Contributor