NEW YORK -- Former First Lady Laura Bush launched the Campaign for Women's Brain Health here on Tuesday evening to empower women with the tools they need to become more knowledgeable about the brain, and to better implement brain care for themselves and their families.
The project is a collaboration between UsAgainstAlzheimer's, WomenAgainstAlzheimer's, and Woman's Day magazine. The campaign's goal is to expand the fight against Alzheimer's to include all aspects of brain health, noted George Vrandenburg, of USAgainstAlzheimer's, and Jill Lesser, of WomenAgainstAlzheimer's.
"To achieve this, the partnership is engaging three key groups: families and communities; providers, payers, and health systems; and policymakers," Vrandenburg and Lesser stated.
Bush told attendees that her late father suffered from Alzheimer's disease. "I've been interested in brain health and Alzheimer's ever since," she said. "I know that there could be a genetic link; that there's a possibility that that's something that I might face in my life, and so I'm interested in a cure as quick as we can get one."
Bush said she and former President George W. Bush "live a very healthy life. As you know, we go to bed early. George was known for that," refering to his reported 9 p.m. bedtime.
A healthy diet and exercise are also part of their daily routines, she said: "I walk all the time in Dallas."
Deaths related to heart disease declined by 11% from 2000 to 2015, while deaths from Alzheimer's disease have risen by 123%, according to data from the Alzheimer's Association.
In 2018, there were 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, according to the association, and that figure is predicted to climb to 14 million by 2050.
"We are at a time in brain health that we were with heart health, and it's time that physicians really start talking to their patients about their family history, their risk factors, and have them truly understand that the lifestyle choices that they make have an impact not only on their hearts but also on their brains," said Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, director of Women's Heart Health Prevention and Wellness at Mount Sinai in New York City.
"This is a conversation that physicians have not had routinely, and I think it has to become part of our normal discussion. The key is prevention, and if we don't talk about how to prevent, we are going to miss the boat," Steinbaum told MedPage Today.
The campaign's aim is to address the gaps in brain health awareness by making brain health just as recognized, accessible, understood, and practiced as heart health, according to a press release.
The release also asserted that more than 33% of Alzheimer's cases "could be prevented" by making healthy lifestyle choices such as consistent exercise, being socially engaged, and sustaining good cardiovascular health.
The campaign "will start courageous conversations that focus on what we can do, and not what we can't. It will start courageous conversations that focus on what we can do and not why we can't [do],"said event host Sheinelle Jones, co-anchor of NBC News' "Weekend Today." "It will help us to celebrate our progress while continuing to push for more. Our goal is that it will help bring women together to promote brain health and to ultimately end Alzheimer's. And that is the vision for the campaign for Women's Brain Health."
Sex-based research may be helpful in driving knowledge about Alzheimer's forward. "We actually need to get scientists to understand that they need to not do every research project just on men," Bush said, highlighting the collaborations between the Laura Bush Institute for Women's Health at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock to address gender differences in medical research.
"As research efforts continue, some of our nation's greatest minds and innovative leaders, like Bill Gates, jump in to help find a cure, and breakthrough alludes us. But there is more and more evidence that ending the Alzheimer's crisis is in our sights and that a large part of the solution will rest in our hands," Jones said.2018-08-11T00:00:00-0400
Source : https://www.medpagetoday.com/neurology/alzheimersdisease/76199