A powerful, moving story that honors the plight and heroism of the Colombian families
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 20, 2011
The Spanish conquistadors dreamed of gold in the hills of Colombia. In the 21st century, a new breed of explorer is in hot pursuit of a treasure far more precious: a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease. A BBC radio documentary looks at how the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) is making an impact in Medellin, Colombia. The documentary crew interviews renowned Alzheimer researcher Ken Kosik and his colleagues and asks whether their research will bring hope to those in a hopeless situation.
The BBC coverage includes a web story on both the BBC Web site and Spanish BBC Web site; a half hour on BBC Radio 4's "Crossing Continents program, scheduled for 11:00 BST on Thursday, 19 May, and 20:30 BST on Monday, 23 May; and 5-6 minutes on the BBC World Service Radio, repeated day and night.
Dr. Kosik and his colleagues in the API have embarked on a daringly ambitious study of a large extended family in Medellin county that is afflicted with a devastating, early-onset form of the disease. Members of the family face a 50-50 chance of having a genetic mutation that causes the disease to develop in people in their 30s and 40s. The disease has been passed down through generations, causing unthinkable suffering both for victims and their loved ones.
The discovery in the mid-1990s of genetic mutations causing familial early-onset Alzheimer’s triggered a worldwide explosion of research and propelled the most important advances in Alzheimer science. While the familial, early-onset form accounts for only about one percent of all Alzheimer cases, it is otherwise very similar to the more common late-onset form.
The API investigators, who in addition to Dr. Kosik include Eric Reiman, Pierre Tariot and Adam Fleisher of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute and Francisco Lopera of the University of Antioquia, are enrolling members of the Colombian families in the first clinical trials designed for people who carry genetic mutations for early-onset Alzheimer’s. They hope to learn if there is a drug that will slow down the disease. And they hope that such drugs will help the millions of others with Alzheimer’s. Worldwide, 35 million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to triple over next 40 years.
The BBC documentary delivers a powerful, moving story that honors the plight and heroism of the Colombian families and portrays the dedication and ingenuity of the researchers. It is a compelling follow-up to Dr. Kosik’s CNN program “Filling the Blank”, a groundbreaking portrayal that shows a clear genetic link that is passed down from generation to generation in the Colombian families. It showcases a wave of international momentum that is building among families, doctors, scientists - and hopefully industry and regulators - to stop the disease. The Colombian families are in the front lines, volunteering for clinical trials which they hope will help in the discovery of effective drugs to prevent or treat the dreaded disease
Dr. Kosik is co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of SociaLife, an innovative health and technology company that uses social networks and entertainment to advance health and well-being. Kosik is the Co-Director of the Neuroscience Research Institute and the Harriman Chair in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara. He received a Whitaker Health Sciences Award from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Metropolitan Life Foundation Medical Award, the Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association, the Zenith Award from the Alzheimer's Association, the Ranwell Caputo Medal from the Argentine Society of Neurochemistry, and a NASA Group Achievement Award to the Neurolab Science Team.
SociaLife builds play into healthcare. “Health solutions are not medical. They’re social.”
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