Our Mission

* Educate healthcare professionals

* Establish a clinic for FTD sufferers

* Support research

Monday, February 23, 2009

Planning for Hope = The Documentary

Your generous support and donations are needed to help make this important film a reality and bring to light the often misdiagnosed – and misunderstood – disease of frontotemporal dementia (FTD.)

Planning for Hope will be a 1-hour documentary featuring the stories of patients in different stages of battling FTD, with a focus on educating both healthcare professionals and the general public about recognizing and treating FTD. Major sponsorship is provided by the Academy of Molecular Imaging, a central supporter of medical imaging technologies such as PET brain scans, one of the most crucial tools for detection of FTD.

Frontotemporal dementia (frontotemporal lobar degeneration) is an umbrella term for a diverse group of disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain — the areas generally associated with personality, behavior and language.

In FTD, portions of these lobes atrophy, or shrink. Signs and symptoms vary, depending upon the portion of the brain affected. Some people with FTD undergo dramatic changes in their personality and become socially inappropriate, impulsive or emotionally blunted, while others lose the ability to use and understand language. Patients taking medications for anxiety or depression may not show the behavioral symptoms associated with FTD, making it even harder to diagnose. Sometimes the earliest signs can be as simple as a change in personality or thought processes … or the simple feeling that something isn’t quite right.

FTD is often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric problem or as Alzheimer's disease, but tends to occur at a younger age than Alzheimer's.

Donations are needed to help complete the final stages of film production and cover distribution and promotion expenses. Your tax-deductible gift will help make a difference for future generations, and all contributions will be gratefully acknowledged in the film credits.

Please make donations payable to SonShine Mountain Retreat, Inc. (along with a note that the donation is for the Planning for Hope project) and mail to:
SonShine Mountain Retreat, Inc.
2425 Highway 9, Black Mountain, NC 28711

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Protect Your Brain by Dr. Andrew Weil

2 Ways to Protect the Brain

Roughly 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease; that number is expected to grow to 7.7 million by 2030. But two studies have identified therapies that may help keep the devastating - and often fatal - deterioration of the brain that characterizes Alzheimer's at bay.Related Weil ProductsDr. Weil on Healthy Aging for a Healthy Mind - Want to help protect your memory?

You can reduce your risk of developing diseases influenced by inflammation, including Alzheimer's, simply by following an anti-inflammatory diet like the one featured on the Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide.

First, scientists at the University of California at Irvine have reported that omega-3 fatty acids may slow the growth of two distinct brain lesions that are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. A study using genetically modified mice is the first to demonstrate that DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, can delay the development of protein "tangles" in brain cells. DHA also reduces levels of beta amyloid, another protein which can cluster in the brain and form plaques. Mice in a control group ate food that mimics a typical American diet, with a 10 to one ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. Studies indicate that a proper ratio is important to maintain health, with the ideal being 3:1 to 5:1.Mice in three test groups were given food with a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. One of these groups received supplemental DHA only. Two groups received DHA, plus additional omega-6 fatty acids. After three months, mice in all of the test groups had lower levels of both proteins than mice in the control group, but at nine months, only mice on the DHA diet had lower levels. These results suggest that DHA works better on its own than when paired with omega-6 fatty acids. The research appeared in the April 18, 2007, issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"Perhaps no piece of nutritional advice in the year 2007 is more relevant than this one: to reduce your risk of a wide variety of diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's, consume more omega-3 fatty acids and fewer omega-six fatty acids," said Dr. Weil. "A good way to do this: add wild-caught fatty fish such as Alaskan salmon to your diet, and reduce consumption of fried food, which tends to be saturated with omega-6-rich soybean oil." Rebalancing the ratios of these fats is an important component of Dr. Weil's anti-inflammatory diet.

Second, you've probably heard before that mentally stimulating activities can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Now, a new study suggests just how much protection we might expect. Researchers in Chicago found that people who are cognitively active in old age are 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer's than those who use their heads less. Stimulating activities include such routine habits as reading the newspaper, checking out and reading a library book, as well as playing chess, going to the theater and other mentally engaging pursuits. Investigators from Rush University Medical Center tested more than 700 study participants, average age 80, every year for up to five years. A total of 90 developed Alzheimer's during the study, and risks of getting the disease correlated with levels of mental "workouts". The benefits of mental stimulation held true even after the investigators controlled for past cognitive activity, socioeconomic status throughout life and current social and physical activity.

The study was published on June 27, 2007 in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology."The research is clear on this issue: challenging your mind on a regular basis helps to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Weil.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Planning For Hope - The Film about FTD

Film company IMS Productions from Colorado Springs is currently working on a documentary “Planning For Hope”. The producers Susan Grant and Cindy Dilks are on a mission of hope in their own right.

At 53 years old, Susan was diagnosed with FTD in 2003, forcing her to quit her financial planning practice. Today, Susan is working harder than ever to make sure the world has a better understanding of this dreaded disease.

Donations are needed to complete the film and handle the distribution. Donations can be made through: SonShine Mountain Retreat, Inc. 2425 Highway 9, Black Mountain, NC 28711. (W) 828-669-8745. Please note donation is for “Planning For Hope”.

Partners for the film include organizations like; Alzheimer’s Association, AFTD, Alliance for Aging Research, Mayo Clinic, University of Pennsylvania, University of Colorado, Raredisease.org, and PositScience.com.

Early diagnosis and a cure some day is their goal with this film. Their dream is to help others.

Please, even if only $1.00. There is never too small of an amount. DONATE and make a difference.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Brother's Behavior Changes

I was reading http://irenetdjftd.blogspot.com/ and it reminded me of some behavior changes with Michael and Patsy as the disease progressed.

Mom was staying with Michael at the lake and he had become so paranoid about closing the blinds, locking the doors, and not using electric appliances. To know Michael, this was so opposite of his usual way of life, especially at the lake. When healthy, Michael was the cook at the lake. He wanted to cook for everyone and wanted all our guests to be well fed. He loved to hangout under the trees, napping and relaxing while the brisket slow cooked.

The year before his death, he would not cook at all. All he was operating was the coffee maker. He would buy frozen foods like burritos (not warming them, just eating them defrosted) and ice cream. He would walk outside to check on something and would lock the door behind him. He would walk around the house checking the blinds to make sure they were closed tight. If mother opened a blind so there was some sunlight in the kitchen while she cooked, he could grunt and come in behind her in a few minutes and close it.

I remember thinking to myself, was he paranoid because he had been a detective for so long and now he was becoming overly obsessive thinking someone was coming after him. We were reaching for answers, anything that might explain why he was acting so differently.

Michael didn’t like traveling into San Antonio to visit the kids, travel was harder for him. He said he wasn’t as familiar with places as he used to be. He would prefer to be home sitting in front of the TV watching The Price is Right.

Even his TV show preferences changed. He used to love watching golf and the Dallas Cowboys play, but became less interested in those.

Mom would read the paper in the morning and he would get agitated because it disrupted his regular routine. Every morning, he would scan the paper (used to read it, but only scanned photos towards the end) and then deliver it to a neighbor. Mom reading the paper, was upsetting to him. He would sit and stare at her until she finished and once she finished, he would huff at her, grab the paper and run it to the neighbor’s house.

Once when the water line broke while mom was visiting, Michael got so upset he blamed her. She called the plumber and had him come out. When the plumber arrived, Michael got in his truck and took off….long enough for it to be repaired and mom pay for it. Allowing mom to pay for anything like this was so out of character for him.