Thursday, 14 December 2017

Memory holds key to a cure

Memory holds key to a cure

Joseph Jebelli
Town Hall

JOSEPH Jebelli’s session on his book In Pursuit of Memory brought together neuroscience and the very personal concerns felt by individuals and families touched by Alzheimer’s.

Jebelli, who was here in conversation with Catherine Flood, was prompted by his own family history to become an Alzheimer’s specialist and now feels there is a global pandemic of the disease.

Indeed, a good proportion of the audience indicated that they had some personal experience of Alzheimer’s.

Yet, in spite of the high incidence of this affliction, Jebelli’s message was very much one of hope.

Research in the field is dynamic and fruitful — there are significant pharmaceutical and technological advances in diagnosis and treatment.

Jebelli’s pitch is to make science accessible to the general reader. He came across as a dedicated scientist with a great sympathy for the human impact of this destructive disease.

He commended the courage and altruism of the families who had contributed to his research to improve life for future generations.

This is developing science: not all the answers have yet been found, as Jebelli was ready to admit.

The central conundrum is that, until we know more about memory, we cannot fully understand memory-related conditions.

Jebelli’s book offers a historical account of the disease alongside the latest thinking about how the brain’s own immune system might be harnessed to fight the illness.

To conclude his talk, he offered some lifestyle suggestions that might help to ward off Alzheimer’s. The hormone dopamine assists memory, so stay in good spirits. Sleep and eat well; keep body and mind active.

Jebelli’s softly-spoken wisdom made a talk about a killer disease remarkably uplifting. Now to read the book!

Susan Creed

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