I always want to use this site to share site any information that can help build understanding about Alzheimer’s disease. So please mark your calendar for Sunday, May 1 at 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) when CNN airs its first special with Larry King. The topic is “Unthinkable: the Alzheimer’s Epidemic.” (Note: The special hour will also broadcast on CNNi and will re-air on Saturday, May 7 at 8pm ET/PT.)
Here’s information from the press release announcing the series: “It’s being called the disease of the 21st century as an estimated 5.4 million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It is the sixth-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States, but many Americans still do not know much about this illness. The one-hour special will look into Alzheimer’s disease, who gets it and why, the race to find effective treatments and a possible cure.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is a neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent, will explain what Alzheimer’s is and how it affects the human brain. King also will talk to many people who have touched by Alzheimer’s disease, including former First Lady Laura Bush, actor Angie Dickinson, TV host Leeza Gibbons, and football star Terrell Owens.
Early onset Alzheimer’s will be featured as part of the program when actor Seth Rogen, talks to King about the early diagnosis of his fiancee’s mother at the age of 55. “More and more people in our generation are gonna have to deal with it,” Rogen said. “We're dealing with it before most people have to,” he tells King. “But as you get older and you see it happening to your parents, and ultimately realize it could happen to yourself and your friends, it becomes much more real and not some imaginary old person problem, you know?”
As part of this special, King and Ron Reagan, the son of former president Ronald Reagan, will visit the cutting-edge Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas. During this segment, one of the men will take a brain scan that will indicate if he is at risk for Alzheimer’s or other memory disorders. The results will be shared, and the pair will talk to Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, Director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Larry Ruvo, philanthropist and visionary, to learn how doctors are treating patients and what people can do to diminish their risk for Alzheimer’s.
In addition, King will visit the Mayo Clinic, where he will talk with Dr. Ronald Petersen, Director, Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, who treated President Reagan. Dr. Petersen warned, “If we don't do something about Alzheimer's disease right now, Alzheimer's disease in and of itself may bankrupt the healthcare system.”
King also will visit with California’s former First Lady and Alzheimer’s activist Maria Shriver in the first interview she’s given since losing her father, Sargent Shriver, to Alzheimer’s disease this year. During the interview, Shriver makes a statement that we should all take to heart: “I think anybody who’s not concerned about Alzheimer’s is in denial.” So I hope you and others will take time to watch this special.
Published On: April 25, 2011