AGING BODY, FIT MIND: UCSB professor Kenneth S. Kosik thinks he’s got a new way to address Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s got nothing to do with drugs or surgery. He’s so confident in his ideas that he’s teamed up with Broad Institute science writer Ellen Clegg to put them in a new book, The Alzheimer’s Solution: How Today’s Care Is Failing Millions and How We Can Do Better, out now from Prometheus Books.
The public profile of Alzheimer’s has been rising ever higher, and no more than a quick glance over the last few decades of population graphs will tell you exactly why. We’ve got more older people than ever, and, as the Baby Boomer bulge passes through its seventh and eighth decades, it’ll be no surprise to see the impact of age-related mental disorders rising commensurately. We’ve got no surgical procedures that can fix Alzheimer’s, Kosik asserts, no pills or serums that can halt the disease’s progress. He has little faith in the established medical system’s ability to address this, and thus has put a great deal of time and effort into finding a new way.
But it’s not just an idea, not just speculation about what might work in the future. Kosik, a Harriman Professor of Neuroscience Research and codirector of the university’s Neuroscience Research Institute, is actually road-testing this new way in the form of his own Santa Barbara-based Center for Cognitive Fitness and Innovative Therapies (CFIT), which, if all goes according to plan, will turn out to be the first of many one-stop “cognitive shops.” These centers are designed to implement a variety of activities that head off the progress of Alzheimer’s disease when it’s still in its pre-symptomatic stages. The idea, that is to say, is to get involved with Alzheimer’s patients before they officially become Alzheimer’s patients.
There are many risk factors to address, including common physical issues to do with blood pressure and cholesterol. Kosik’s research has led him to believe that, besides already being plainly unhealthy, a condition like high blood pressure increases one’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In his book, he recommends diet, exercise, stress reduction, and the maintenance of both high mental activity and an active social life. These are the sort of habits the CFIT helps, and the potential cognitive shops of the future will help, to develop.
See sbcfit.org for more information.
‘TIS THE SEASON FOR FATHER APPRECIATION: As we approach the third Sunday of June, our thoughts turn—or should turn, if we’ve been keeping an eye on our calendars—to our dads. But Santa Barbara author Katheryn Greenaway has gone far beyond the cards and neckties that make the typical Father’s Day present, having brought more than 60 daughters together to contribute to a new book of stories, For Daddy, with Love. The combined effort of women younger and older, businesslike and artistic, writing-experienced and otherwise, the project showcases a wide spectrum of daughterly perspectives on fathers.
Greenaway’s many co-authors come from all over the field of human experience: There’s a hairdresser, a physics writer, a retired attorney, a student, an editor, a professor, a real estate agent, an essayist, a poet, a sex expert, a consultant, a journalist, a novelist, a blogger, a memoirist, and a limerick writer, to name but a few. Even The Indy‘s own Elizabeth Schwyzer, who covers dance and art in these pages, offers her own contribution to this multifaceted celebration of things fatherly.
Those purchasing copies of For Daddy, with Love aren’t just buying a book; they’re also making a charitable contribution. Each sale goes in part to support Girls Inc., the national nonprofit that’s followed the mission of educating and advocating for young girls since 1864. Anyone who’s been even distantly involved in what they do knows that they’re quite a well-known and well-regarded presence around Santa Barbara, in particular. For details on the book, its contributors, and the donations it generates, visit fordaddywithlove.com.