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January 11, 2017
In the movie Still Alice , Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore portrays a linguistics professor who, at just 50 years old, is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Still Alice is more than a novel and film adaption; it is a platform to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s. The message conveyed in the film helps viewers breakdown the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is often misunderstood because of myths and misconceptions others have about the disease. 5.2 million people are living with the disease and another 200,000 are diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Despite their illness, the millions of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are still living worthwhile and meaningful lives. Still Alice author, Lisa Genova, proclaimed in a recent interview, “People are still people with Alzheimer’s. Their identity and worthiness as a human being is still there.” Alzheimer’s inevitably impedes on the lives of those diagnosed. Nevertheless, the disease does not need to be the end-all in determining the quality of life.
Although there are medications to relive the symptoms, Alzheimer’s is an incurable disease. Researchers across the globe struggle effortlessly to find an answer. During Julianne Moore’s Oscar acceptance speech she acknowledged the absolute need for a cure: “I’m thrilled that we were able to shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease. So many people with this disease feel isolated and marginalized and the wonderful things about movies is that it makes us feel seen and not alone. And people with Alzheimer’s deserve to be seen so we can find a cure.”
Still Alice has helped overcome some of the blinded notions surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. The disease has prolonged centuries, however the conversation has just begun.