“Still Alice” Academy Award Winning Performance-Julianne Moore confronts Alzheimer’s Disease

March 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Common questions- What is Dementia? What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

The older adult population is growing by nearly 1.6 million a year, an increase projected to continue over the next 20 years. People older than age 65 represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000 but their number is expected to grow to 19% of the population by 2030. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons age 65 and older, more than twice their number in 2000. There were an estimated 5.2 million Americans with dementia in 2014.

Dementia is a syndrome characterized by generalized cognitive deterioration. Dementia results in changes in behavior, perception, memory, problem-solving abilities and judgment that interfere with normal daily routines and functions. Dementia may be reversible or irreversible, although many illnesses with a dementia component are progressive and fatal. In the older adult, dementia is a complicated health issue because it has multiple causes, presents in many different ways, is difficult to recognize and varies in duration.

Many conditions lead to dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, accounting for 60% to 80% of all cases. Dementia caused by AD is irreversible. It has an insidious onset, gradual progression and is fatal, usually within eight to 10 years from diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time.

In Alzheimer’s Disease, changes in the brain’s structures occur with the formation of plaques, tangles and neuronal loss. Although the cause is unknown, scientists speculate that genetic predisposition, head injuries, viruses and toxins may predispose a person to disease development. Some data suggest that risk factors such as obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, diabetes and poor nutrition also increase chances of acquiring the disease. by Annette Kelly, PhD, ARNP

This 4-minute video, Inside the Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of Alzheimer’s Disease, shows the intricate mechanisms involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain. -National Institue on Aging

In the opening scene of “Still Alice,” Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), is surrounded by her husband, two of three of their children (-son, who is a doctor, -daughter, who is an attorney, and her son-in-law, Charlie), to celebrate Alice’s birthday at an upscale restaurant in New York City.

Ironically, Alice, who is a professor of linguistics at Columbia University, has always been defined by her intellect, language, and articulation, and begins having difficulty recalling names, faces, words, and locations. While giving a lecture at UCLA, she has difficulty with word and thought retrieval-“memory and computation, that is the essence of communication.”

While out in LA, she visits her daughter, Lydia (played by Kristen Stewart), who is acting in a theater company that is being funded by her father. Her mother worries about her and wants her to attend college and take courses that will lead to a steady career.

From there, you observe Alice struggle with forgetfulness, loss, coping, shame, career and familial relationships.

“On good days, I can almost pass for a normal person. On bad days, I feel like I can’t find myself. I can see words hanging in front of me, and I can’t reach them, and I don’t know what I’m going to lose next.”

In theaters.

Article by Sharon Abella
One World Cinema

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