New Exhibit at Dana! Alzheimer’s Disease: Walking the Path of Science, Medicine, and Care-giving

Aliceheimer's Cover

Dana Medical Library has a new exhibit up in its Main Hallway tackling the topic of Alzheimer’s Disease. This exhibit looks at what it is, why it occurs, and why it is considered a public health issue. Even now, researchers do not know everything about this disease though they understand that there is a correlation between the build-up of protein in and around brain cells and the disruption of transmission between cells. Memory loss is the direct effect of this disruption. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia (a general term for the decline in mental faculties) and is the slow decline of cognitive abilities affecting memory, thinking and behavior, mostly in older individuals.

The exhibit also looks at the research, initiatives, fundraising, and stories that have come to the forefront to combat and to reconcile this life-changing disease. From The Healthy Brain Initiative to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s to The Longest Day fundraiser, people have recognized the need to shine a light on not just the on-going search for a cure,  but the caregivers and family members who do the daily work of caring for their loved ones and family members. See the Alzheimer’s Association website for more information.

This exhibit concludes with a powerful story told in an emerging book genre: Graphic Medicine. Dana Walrath’s book, Aliceheimer’s: Alzheimer’s Through the Looking Glass, tells the story about caring for her mother, Alice Mashoian Walrath. The story is a circuitous, fluid journey between the present and the past, following the meanderings of Alice’s Alzheimer’s, from seeing her late husband up in a tree outside her daughter’s Vermont farmhouse to trips back to World War II and food rationing. Dana puts her anthropological expertise to work to help deal with her mom’s memory loss, time traveling, emotions, and sense of security. Dana’s voice in her writing is one of deep respect for her mother, and shows a strong desire to keep her mother’s dignity intact.

The exhibit will be on display through mid-June (June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month) in Dana Medical Library’s main hallway. Stop by and take a look!

Questions about the exhibit? Contact Kate Bright at 656-0695.