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Vegas - 2015 - Issue 7 - November - Natalie Dormer

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before the patient." Then there's the isolation and loneliness, says Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice, the groundbreaking 2007 Alzheimer's-themed novel. "There is still so much shame and stigma attached to the disease," says Genova, "and families affected by AD are often excluded from community, left to care for loved ones alone." Caregiving for a family member can be particu- larly painful, in that the caregiver is often the closest witness as the loved one gradually fades away. A profound sense of loss is a natural response, says Dr. Sam Fazio, the Director of Special Projects in Medical and Scientifc Relations for the Alzheimer's Association and the author of multiple books on Alzheimer's care. "You have a long-standing rela- tionship with the person you're caring for now, and you remember how they used to be." That doesn't mean there can't still be moments of connection and joy in that relationship, insists Fazio, whose work is centered around the persistence of self in Alzheimer's patients. "The biggest thing is living in the moment and going with the fow," he explains. "So the joy might come in smaller connections, and fnding a way to connect on a different level. It may be different from what the person was before, but it is what it is now. That person has a disease and can't adapt to come into your reality anymore, so you have to adapt and go into their reality. That's the only way it'll work. And that's hard to do." As sobering as the state of the disease is, one nug- get of hope is that, after decades of being dismissed as "a disease just for old people," according to Aga Khan, Alzheimer's awareness is now very much in the mainstream, and the cause is being champi- oned far and wide. From Julianne Moore's 2015 Best Actress Oscar for the flm adaptation of Still Alice to I'll Be Me, director James Keach's much-lauded recent documentary about country music icon Glen Campbell's struggle with the disease, more and more attention is being drawn to Alzheimer's in popular culture, in large part because so many more people can identify with its consequences. Explaining the success of I'll Be Me, which, in June, set a CNN Films record for viewership, Keach says, "People saw that it was a tough subject, but it wasn't going to push people away or create more shame in the game—it was going to create an opportunity for people to relate to what they experience in their own lives or what friends have experienced, [those] care- giving and also suffering with the disease." In addition to those flms, events such as the Rita Hayworth Gala continue to raise awareness; celebrities like Seth Rogen and Wayne Brady have stepped up to publicly commit to the fght against the disease; and not one but two months are now dedicated to recognizing the cause: June was Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month (which introduced the Twitter hashtag #EndAlzheimers that has been trending ever since), and November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. MAKING PROGRESS All too often the news about Alzheimer's has been bleak, but recent research breakthroughs have resulted in, for the frst time, an attitude of cautious Julianne Moore won the 2015 Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Still Alice, a flm based on the 2007 novel tackling the realities of Alzheimer's disease. Sterling Support Lagos combines beauty and support for brain health with its new Keep Memory Alive jewelry collection. By Matt Stewart Jewelry designer Steven Lagos is supporting the cause of brain health through his eight-piece sterling silver jewelry collection Keep Memory Alive. All proceeds go to the nonproft Keep Memory Alive as it works with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health to provide care for people coping with Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases. The collection incorporates Lagos's distinctive caviar motif while referencing Frank Gehry's design for the Lou Ruvo Center in Las Vegas. Why is brain health important to you? Steven Lagos: My grandfather and grand- mother suffered from Alzheimer's. One of the lessons I learned is that Alzheimer's affects the family as much as the patient. How did the Keep Memory Alive jewelry collection come about? SL: The spectacular exterior of the Ruvo Center formed the basis for our designs, but what's going on inside that building is even more amazing. The treatments and breakthrough clinical trials they're conducting are changing lives. The fact that receiving care there is not based on ability to pay makes this project even more incredible. I wanted to celebrate that spirit. Why did you decide to donate all proceeds to Keep Memory Alive? SL: It was a way for Lagos to bring attention to the cause of brain health. We could have just written a check, but being involved allows us to bring our talents to this fght and to inspire ourselves in the bargain. The Keep Memory Alive cuff ($2,900) references the unique exterior design of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. photography by Sony pictureS claSSicS/photofeSt (Moore) 100

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