Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thinking of the Future; Remembering the Past

New studies now suggest that the number of new cases of Altzheimer's disease each year will double by 2050. I am not likely to be alive at that point, but I have three children, numerous nephews and nieces, and grandchildren who are. There have been some significant breakthroughs in research, but more needs to be done.

My initial interest in the disease had to do with my mother-in-law. While she was never specifically diagnosed with Altzheimer's, she did have dementia of some kind. (Of course, one of the difficulties with Altzheimer's is that there aren't any definitive tests to diagnose it -- yet.)  Over the course of years, Ma grew less and less able to cope with her day to day life, eventually struggling to recognize those around her. Since the disease progressed fairly slowly, at first, it was difficult to be sure what was happening, both for her and for those of us who loved her. By the time it was evident that it was likely she had Altzheimer's, she had already lost many of her abilities to cope. Researchers are trying to find ways to diagnose it earlier, slow the progression of the disease, and find a cure.

There is a World Series Quilt Challenge going on right now to benefit the Altzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). The organization was started by Ami Simms to raise money for Altzheimer's research. The leagues for the Challenge include the American Quilt League (Hollis Chatelain, John Flynn, Becky Goldsmith, and Sue Nickels) and the National Quilt League (Caryl Bryer Fallert, Judy Mathieson, Mary Sorensen, and Ricky Tims). Each quilter has created a quilt for auction online between November 1 and 10. The quilts will also be at the International Quilt Festival in Houston from November 3rd to the 7th. In addition, there are ongoing auctions and sales of small quilts by many artists through the organization's website. For more information, please check it out at http://www.alzquilts.org/.

Until next time, may you experience peace and all good.

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