U.Va. School of Medicine, Alzheimer's Association, Paramount Theater Host a Screening and Discussion of HBO's 'The Alzheimer's Project'

June 2, 2009 – The Alzheimer's Association Central and Western Virginia Chapter, the Paramount Theater, the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the U.Va. Department of Neurology's Memory Disorders Clinic will host a special screening and discussion of HBO's "The Alzheimer's Project" as part of a national discussion to encourage individuals to learn more about the disease and the research being done, as well as to gain a greater understanding of the issues surrounding it.

The June 9 program begins with brain-healthy hors d'oeuvres at 6 p.m. An abbreviated screening from the HBO documentary series will begin at 7 p.m., followed by a discussion panel led by Sue Friedman, Alzheimer's Association Chapter president and CEO; and panelists Dr. Steven T. DeKosky, vice president and dean of the U.Va. School of Medicine; Dr. David Geldmacher, UVa associate professor of neurology; and Ward Campbell, a retired telecommunications executive and Alzheimer's caregiver. The event is free and open to the public.

"The Alzheimer's Project" is HBO's four-part, multi-platform series that brings new understanding and hope for millions and reveals human faces behind the disease. This pioneering documentary series shines a spotlight on the lives of individuals with Alzheimer's and their families and takes a close look at the groundbreaking discoveries made by the country's leading scientists as they work toward a cure.

Four films each explore a different facet of Alzheimer's:

• "The Memory Loss Tapes." This 90-minute vérité documentary captures the devastating experience of memory loss from the point of view of the person with the disease. Bringing viewers into the quiet world of seven patients living with Alzheimer's, each in an advancing state of dementia and ranging across the full spectrum of the disease, the film bears witness to what it's like to slowly lose one's mind.

• "Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?," with Maria Shriver. Geared toward children and young teens coping with a grandparent's illness, this film presents vignettes that can help a child understand and deal with a relative's gradual decline into Alzheimer's. Maria Shriver, whose father was diagnosed with the disease, provides commentary and guidance through five insightful lessons.

• "Momentum in Science, Parts 1 & 2." Two years in the making, "Momentum In Science" details the current explosion of knowledge within the scientific and medical communities – from imaging the earliest signs of Alzheimer's, to understanding the roles that genetics and lifestyle might play, to the tremendous progress being made in the effort to develop drugs to treat or even prevent the disease.

• "Caregivers." A collection of five family portraits that illustrate caring for those in different stages of Alzheimer's disease. Each highlights the sacrifices, struggles, and successes made by those experiencing their loved ones' descent into dementia.

The series which premiered on HBO on May 10 also includes 15 short supplemental films, a companion book published by Public Affairs Books and a comprehensive Web site.

The purpose of the screening event is to encourage further discussion about Alzheimer's research and care in communities across America. HBO has invited the Alzheimer's Association, along with many other national organizations, to host these screening events to help conduct conversations about Alzheimer's and better understand the disease.

"We applaud HBO for creating the opportunity for these important community conversations about Alzheimer's disease," said Sue Friedman, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association Central and Western Virginian Chapter. "The increased awareness about the warning signs, the many services we provide and the research advancements are critical to meeting the growing needs of those touched by Alzheimer's disease."

Alzheimer's is the second-most-feared illness in America behind cancer and may affect as many as 5 million Americans. As Baby Boomers reach retirement, that number could soar to more than 11 million by 2040 and have a huge economic impact on America's already fragile healthcare system.

"The Alzheimer's Project" was created by the award-winning team behind HBO's acclaimed "Addiction" project and is presented by HBO Documentary Films in association with the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer's Association, The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, and Geoffrey Beene Gives Back Alzheimer's Initiative. The series is produced by John Hoffman and executive produced by Sheila Nevins and Maria Shriver.