Local families and physicians are among those featured in a new documentary on the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease raging in America. The documentary will debut on the Nine Network this Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m.
“Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts,” produced by St. Paul/Minneapolis affiliate Twin Cities PBS, features a Springfield, Mo., family touched by the disease as well as the work of Washington University researchers searching for a cure.
Because of the care needed for those living with the disease, and the length of time that care is necessary, Alzheimer’s is often called the most expensive medical condition in the United States.
“I think of it as a tsunami,” said Dr. Beau Ances, who heads an Alzheimer’s research lab at Washington University and whose work is featured in the film. “If we don’t start to get ahold of this disease, it’s going to be a huge wave and it’s not just going to hit those who suffer from it, but their caregivers and the economy as well. So the question is, are we prepared for it or not?”
The documentary aims to draw attention to a disease that is believed by many to be the next national public health catastrophe on the horizon. The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is projected to rise 55 percent by 2030, and affect a staggering 14 million individuals by 2050, severely taxing programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
“It’s kind of like the best of times and the worst of times for Alzheimer’s,” Ances said. “We’re starting to understand it, but there’s not a lot of funding.”
Washington University’s work on Alzheimer’s research will also be featured on Nine Network’s program, SciTech Now, airing Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.