July is Social Wellness Month. And nearly 4,000 scientists from around the globe are meeting this week in Honolulu to discuss the latest advances in research and treatments, risk factors, and diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease. See, Scientists gather to discuss latest advances in Alzheimer's disease at AAICAD 2010, published July 15, 2010 in The Medical News.
In the meantime, Sacramento on August 5, 2010 features a conference on Social Landscaping. What has Alzheimer's research to do with Social Landscaping? Both are about research focused on local quality of life here in Sacramento emphasizing social wellness. See, Social Landscaping: Building & Marketing Healthy & Livable Communities. July marks Social Wellness Month which has been created to assist people in their efforts to live a healthier life.
Scientists and the government along with most Baby Boomers are worrying about how much it will cost everyone to take care of Boomers with Alzheimer's disease. It's a social wellness issue. "With an aging baby boomer generation, the Alzheimer's disease crisis will continue to touch more lives and create an unsustainable fiscal toll on the nation's healthcare system – particularly Medicare and Medicaid," said William Thies, PhD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at the Alzheimer's Association, according to that article in The Medical News, Scientists gather to discuss latest advances in Alzheimer's disease at AAICAD 2010.
At the same time, publications read by the public are full of articles on how if you work your brain hard all your life and especially in old age, you will skip or delay dementia, for example, Alzheimer's disease. Could this buzz appeal for boosting brain health by working puzzles, reading, or learning languages be on the wrong track?
Couldn't there be some other cause for Alzheimer's, genetic in maybe 30 percent of the population, but due to another cause in the other 70 percent? Could there be a basis in environmental toxins or eating certain cuts of meat or any other possibility being researched by science? See article, Author, Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's [Archive] - Physics Forums. Also check out, Terry Pratchett's Alzheimer's Speech in Full. His speech and uTube video is about how the author, a man in his 50's responds to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. This shows that boosting your brain health may not be of any use to people who use their brain daily in these high-echelon professions such as theoretical physics, math, or writing novels read by physicists.
Here is a list of a few of the many well known personalities who have been struck down by Alzheimer's disease. - Abe Burrows (Actor),(Singer), ( ), Thomas Dorsey (Song Writer), Arlen Francis (Actor), (Poet), Barry Goldwater (Senator), (Actor), Raul Silva Henriquez (Roman Catholic Cardinal), (Actor and Political Activist), William B. Konar, (Started the CVS drug chain after living thru the Holocaust.) (Actor), Edmond O’Brien (Actor), (Director), (40th US President), Norman (Artist), Margaret Thatcher (British Prime Minister), Harold Wilson (another British Prime Minister).
What did all these people have in common--their diet and lifestyle? The fact that they were or were not vegans? No one knows. Could it have been the nanoparticles in their sunscreen that crossed the blood/brain barrier? Or maybe they didn't eat enough curcumin from turmeric? No one really knows.
That's why research in social wellness must go on as well as research in dementia, behavior changes, and brain aging. Read the article by P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D. in the March/April 2010 issue of the AARP magazine, "Boost Your Brain." According to that article, "...mental decline after 50 is not a given. In fact, in some ways the healthy brain gets stronger with age. Studies confirm that accumulated knowledge and expert skills (a.k.a. wisdom) increase as you get older.
"In addition, emotional savvy, such as not dwelling on negative thoughts, also appears to grow with age, as demonstrated in a recent Duke University study. Researchers showed a set of photos to study participants. Some of the photos were of neutral items such as household objects; others were distressing shots of violent scenes. Tested later, participants in their 70s remembered about the same number of neutral images as did those in their 20s, but the older people remembered fewer of the unpleasant ones. Cell-signaling activity in the older group suggested their brains filtered out bad memories."
Then read the response to that article, AARP's Startling Story "Boost Your Brain Health. Do your research and make up your own mind. The fact for Social Wellness Month is that you have brilliant physicists, physicians, and mathematicians getting Alzheimer's as well as average people in familiar occupations. Basically scientists really don't know whether using it will still allow you to lose it when it comes to your brain. It works with muscles, for example, if you are not walking, your leg muscles will become weak. But scientists just don't know yet what behaviors will protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease.
Social Landscaping Conference in Sacramento on August 5, 2010
Social Landscaping: Building & Marketing Healthy & Livable Communities Thursday, Aug 5, 2010, 8:00a
at California State University Alumni Center, Sacramento, CA
Join your fellow 'ReLeaf' Network members in the state capitol to talk about new ways to market trees to the public. We'll discuss: Public Health - How do trees make your city a healthier place to live? Community Design - How do trees fit within the community? How can we build in the benefits of trees from the beginning? Age Suitability: None Specified.
Livability-Sustainability - How do trees fit into a sustainable lifestyle? Social Movements & Social Marketing - How do we reach people using the tools they use the most? Media Advocacy - How do we use the media to give a strong call to action that will eventually move public policy?
Each session will feature a speaker followed by open discussions so that Network members can share their successes, ask questions, and begin to develop ways that new information can be used once they are home.
Wednesday, August 4
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Tree Tour at Capitol Park with Sacramento Tree Foundation volunteer guides. A boxed dinner is included.
Thursday, August 5
8:00 a.m. - 8:20 a.m.
Welcome and Logistics
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Dr. Kathleen Wolf, University of Washington
Opening up the Treasure Chest:
An Overview of Research on Human Health and Well-Being
We know a lot about the environmental benefits of green infrastructure in cities. There are also many human health and well-being benefits provided by urban greening. The science is there, but we haven't brought this information to the public quite as well.
A new on-line tool is available to learn more about the benefits that make for more livable cities. Dr. Wolf will introduce the project and highlight some of the key findings from across decades of social science. She'll share some of the treasure that you'll be able to use to advocate for urban nature programs in your city or town.
10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Mike Miller, Brown Miller Communications
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.
1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Lisa Cirill, CA Center for Physical Activity at the CA Department of Health
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Friday, August 6
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
California ReLeaf Network
California ReLeaf Network is located at 1107 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814-3607. Also see, Green Jobs Sacramento, CA - Program Manager, Grants - California.
Discussion: Join the group in an in-depth conversation targeted at uncovering the gaps in the state’s urban forestry programs. The ReLeaf Network’s advice is critical in understanding the opportunities and challenges faced by the urban forestry community in California.
9:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Penelope Winter, Resource Media
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Participants will be housed in apartment-style suites on the California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) campus. Participants can choose between single accommodations or double accommodations . Those choosing double accommodations are given an option to choose their roommate during registration. Housing is just a short walk from the University Union, our conference site.
Registration fees also include breakfast on both mornings of the conference, lunch on the first day of the conference and a reception on the first day of the conference. For further information, check out the social landscaping website. Also see, California ReLeaf Network.