Posted by: Katie May
By now, you may have begun hearing the buzz surrounding the novel turned movie, Still Alice, featuring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish. The movie adaption of Lisa Genova’s 2007 bestselling novel opens in theaters January 16th and the Oscar buzz following its release will likely continue to get louder.
Lisa Genova is a Harvard professor of neuroscience, and in her debut novel writes about Alice Howland, a Harvard professor nationally renowned in linguistics. In the novel, Alice, is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at 50 years of age. Alice is married to an equally successful husband, and they have three grown children. At first, when Alice begins to grow forgetful she just dismisses it, but when she gets lost in her own neighborhood, she realizes that something is terribly wrong. The disease takes hold swiftly, and changes Alice’s relationship with her family and with her world.
The rise in Alzheimer’s disease is no secret. The Alzheimer’s Association indicates that every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease, and two-thirds of individuals diagnosed are women. Shockingly, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, a woman’s estimated risk of developing Alzheimer’s by age 65 is 1 in 6. Further, the disease is as real a concern to women’s health as breast cancer, as women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s during the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.
Inspired by The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s, Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer’s Association began the My Brain initiative which calls on 1 million women to use their amazing brains to help wipe out Alzheimer’s disease—one of the greatest threats to women’s health. More information on this initiative can be found at https://mybrain.alz.org/about-the-movement.asp. Shriver is the Executive Producer of “Still Alice.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, “The Association assisted author Lisa Genova with her research, which included interviews with several members of past Early Stage Advisory Groups. The Association is also featured prominently in the book’s plot. In addition, the Association worked with Genova to create the Still Alice discussion guide, specifically for people living with Alzheimer’s. The guide — the first of its kind — is intended to help people with the disease use Alice’s story to connect with their experience and explain it to others.” https://www.alz.org/co/in_my_community_alz_books.asp.
I am anxiously awaiting the release of this movie and am encouraged by the press it brings. I am hopeful it fuels the continued fight to find a cure and, at a minimum, provide comfort to those dealing with the devastation of Alzheimer’s Disease every day.