Millions of Americans will experience some form of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer's, as the debilitating and fatal brain disorder places incredible strain on everyone involved. Alzheimer's may affect as many as 5 million United States citizens, and could reach more than 11 million by 2040, according to HBO's "The Alzheimer Project."
Medical professionals have been studying patients for decades, and filmmakers have tackled the gripping everyday drama of slowly losing those close to you.
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Here are five documentaries about the condition:
1. The Alzheimer's Project
. Produced by Home Box Office, this series takes a close look at scientific discoveries, as well as the effects of the debilitating and fatal disease on those directly affected and their families. Titles in the series include: "The Memory Loss Tapes," "Grandpa, do you know who I am?" "Momentum in Science," as well as several other supplementary titles.
2. "Do You Know What My Name Is?"
This feature documentary film, produced by Sendai Television Inc., follows a real-life drama of how a Cleveland, Ohio nursing home implemented a program designed to improve the lives of dementia patients. Developed through brain science research in Japan, the program helped patients who had given up hope to reconnect with their families. The movie was recognized with numerous awards, including the "Audience Favorite International Film" at the American Documentary Film Festival, held in Palm Springs, California, the "Award of Merit" at the Berlin International film Awards, and "Honorable Mention" at the Los Angeles Movie Awards.
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3. Alive Inside
. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett explores music's power to reawaken memory in dementia-suffering patients in nursing homes. It chronicles the efforts of social worker Dan Cohen, who found that a patient's favorite songs are stored in a part of the brain that remained intact when other communications and awareness seemed lost — and reveals the human connection we form with music. The movie also explores the evolution of the nursing home industry as a place when Alzheimer patients are warehoused, kept medicated and left in their rooms. Moviegoers gave it the "Audience Award" at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
4. The Sum Total or our Memory
. Couples affected by a partner's diagnosis of early Alzheimer's must accept their changing roles. The film features perspective from some of the country's most prominent Alzheimer's medical experts.
5. Still Alice
. Though not a documentary, this fictional drama earned actress Julianne Moore an Oscar for her portrayal of Alzheimer's patient Dr. Alice Howland, a Columbia University linguistics professor who learns she is suffering from early onset Alzheimer's. The film explores the impact the disease has on Howland, her husband and three children.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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