June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
There’s no doubt about it, this year things are different. For many, June usually means the start of summer when schools are on break and vacations are planned. While circumstances may have changed and seem unpredictable, one thing remains unchanged this year: many will still be wearing purple to honor Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease and the most common form of dementia (Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases). More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease and according to the World Health Organization, about 50 million globally are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment, which is why we need to bring awareness to this disease.
Ways to Honor Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
- Take the Purple Pledge with the Alzheimer’s Association
- Turn your Facebook profile picture purple to raise awareness
- Use #EndAlz to join the conversation
- Whether you are dealing with a diagnosis personally, care for someone, or know someone with the disease, you are not alone. Share your story with the Alzheimer’s Association, or gain strength and support by reading the moving stories others have posted.
- Celebrate “The Longest Day” on June 20th
The Alzheimer’s Association encourages everyone to fight against Alzheimer’s by participating in a fundraising activity of their choice on the summer solstice. While this year may inhibit physical fundraising events, there are several virtual activities such as Facebook fundraisers and other creative ideas to engage with family and friends.
- Join the Virtual ASSIST Study and invite your friends too
Boston University School of Public Health and Savonix have partnered to look into brain health and lifestyle factors of about 400,000 participants over three years. Previous studies have looked at smaller groups and non-Hispanic white groups. Join us in the fight against dementia! Called the ASSIST Study, this is the largest study of its kind and will focus on diverse populations.
- If you’re 22 years and older, have a mobile device, and about 45 minutes to take a test, you can make a difference (your health status does not matter). It’s a great and easy way to make a big impact in the comfort and safety of your own home!
- Download step-by-step instructions for Apple devices or for Android devices.
- Use #Joinassiststudy in social media to encourage your friends to fight dementia.
Care for Your Brain
The brain is a complex organ and as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes, “This three-pound organ is the seat of intelligence, interpreter of the senses, initiator of body movement, and controller of behavior. Lying in its bony shell and washed by protective fluid, the brain is the source of all the qualities that define our humanity. The brain is the crown jewel of the human body.”
Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month reminds us to self-care and to look after this important and powerful organ that we might sometimes take for granted.
As clinical studies continue to search for a cure, there are ways to care for your brain to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and other dementia. We have most likely heard, “Prevention is better than cure” by the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus and that adage rings true when it comes to dementia. Studies in 2017 showed that a third of dementia cases globally can be prevented if we care for our brains and change modifiable lifestyle factors.
How will you commemorate Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month? What are some other ways you care for your brain?
Livingston, G., Sommerlad, A., Orgeta, V., Costafreda, S. G., Huntley, J., Ames, D., … & Cooper, C. (2017). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet, 390(10113), 2673-2734. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31363-6/fulltext#seccestitle70
Phillips, H. (2006, September 4). Introduction: The Human Brain. New Scientist. Retrieved from https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9969-introduction-the-human-brain/
Brain Basics: Know Your Brain (n.d.). National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Know-Your-Brain
10 Facts on Dementia (September 2019). World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/dementia/en/