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Alzheimer's Documentary Airs Nationwide March 28

  [ 446 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • March 25, 2005

- Half-hour TV Special on ABC Family Channel Urges Early Diagnosis for Patients, Plus Respite and Support for Caregivers PLAINSBORO, N.J., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, and that number, according to a study commissioned by the Alzheimer's Association, is expected to triple or quadruple by the middle of the century. Learning to understand the disease-and take advantage of the medical and community support options available-can play a major role in helping the patients as well as those who care for them, reports a documentary that airs this Monday. The program, produced by Scinexa, LLC, is part of a series called HealthXplorer, which makes its debut on the ABC Family channel on March 28 (5:30 am Eastern and Pacific time). The half-hour documentary, "Reflections of Memories Lost: Understanding Alzheimer's Disease," features William E. Reichman, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. According to Dr. Reichman, who is a fervent believer in the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment, the goal of the program is to raise awareness about the disease. The report tells the story of Florrie Birnbaum, a 77-year-old woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and her husband, Jerry, while the doctor discusses some of the challenges facing the couple, both on a day-to-day basis and over the coming years. Although Jerry laments that the woman he married 56 years ago is no longer capable of doing some of the simplest things, Florrie doesn't see anything wrong. "I can't remember what I can't remember," she explains. The episode reviews the ten warning signs developed by the Alzheimer's Association, explaining the difference, in each case, between normal forgetfulness and dementia. For example, anyone can misplace a wallet or key, but a person with Alzheimer's will put things in strange places, like a wristwatch in the sugar bowl or an iron in the freezer. Dr. Reichman highlights recent advances in treatments while describing some of the most effective non-medical therapies, such as day care, structured activities and support groups. Spouses, siblings and children are among those most affected by the disease, the doctor explains. Indeed, the Alzheimer's Association points out that more than seven out of ten people with the condition live at home, where roughly 75 percent of their care is provided by family and friends. As part of the television program, two licensed social workers describe the resources available to help relatives find professional caregivers and share information with others in the same situation. "Reflections of Memories Lost" is the first in a series of health education programs to be broadcast under the HealthXplorer banner. The series was created in order to fill a need for accurate, readily-available and objective healthcare information. "Patients are demanding some measure of control over their own health," said Lisa Baez, Executive Director of Scinexa, a company specializing in medical education for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals "Education-knowing about the disease as well as its treatment options-is the best way to exercise that control and work arm-in-arm with the physician. Having an informed patient makes the doctor's life a lot easier," she added. Future programs in the HealthXplorer series will focus on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, hepatitis and metabolic syndrome. Following their television debut on ABC Family, all the programs -- including "Reflections of Memories Lost" -- will be available in their entirety online, on demand at The website offers a wealth of additional information and resources for patients and their loved ones. "Reflections of Memories Lost: Understanding Alzheimer's Disease" will air on the ABC Family channel on Monday, March 28 at 5:30 am Eastern and Pacific Time. Following its television debut, the half-hour documentary will be available in its entirety online, on demand at Source: Scinexa Medical Education Group

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