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Ground breaking kicks off ‘Big MAC’ project

Sam Bauman
For the Nevada Appeal
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City fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts and cousins were there for the Thursday ground breaking ceremonies.

Only the kids and potential adult users of the Multi-use Athletic Center weren’t on hand as shovels bit the dirt.

The “Big MAC,” as the facility has been named to separate it from an earlier, smaller design, will offer both high school and colleges size basketball courts as well a running path around the building looking over the floors.

Mayor Richard Crowell said, “We’re making good on a commitment that we made 20 years ago.”

With that the shovels turned and dirt flew. I watched it all from my apartment’s balcony that overlooks the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada on Russell Way.

I watched all this with mixed emotions. I’ve enjoyed looking out of my apartment on the acreage of sagebrush where the MAC will go, behind the Boys and Girls Club building and between the club and the big playing field.

I do hope that the kids will still enjoy their freedom on the big playing field. It’s rejuvenating to watch them do cartwheels, handstands on somersaults during free periods.

Of course, this in one more act of building on vacant land. Not much of that left, but I can’t think of a better use of the land. Yes, the many hikers who wandered through the sagebrush will have to go to the city trail running alongside I-580 about a quarter-mile away.

Alzheimer’s comes to Hollywood — A lesson for all of us

There were no big surprises at the Academy Awards a couple of weeks ago, but there was one award that surely struck many in Carson City. That Oscar went to four-time Award nominee Julienne Moore in “Still Alice”as a linguist professor who is struck in mid-life with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Those of us who have helped those with Alzheimer’s through RSVP’s caregiver relief program where we would go to AZ-patient’s home for several hours to give the regular relief to get on with business will empathize with Moore in the film.

I’ve worked with several such families and always found it rewarding. Each patient was unique, shared the problems of AZ with ease or difficulty. But each in one way or another exhibited a desire to be acknowledged as a unique person — with some problems. No one wanted to be put on the shelf as incurable as he or she was.

I haven’t seen “Still Alice”, but the reviews were all very positive and respectful. And Ms. Moore’s acceptance speech was surely evocative. She she hoped that the film would give a more caring and helpful response to the whole range of those suffering from mental illnesses.

Do Alzheimer’s Medications work?

With Ms. Moore raising the subject, one can’t help but notice surge of TV ads for Alzheimer’s patients. How good are they? If a product’s ad in on national TV one can presume some FDA approvals (this is prescription medications only — over the counter meds do not undergo FDA exam by Congressional rules).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of medications — cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, Cognex) and memantine (Namenda) — to treat the cognitive symptoms (memory loss, confusion, and problems with thinking and reasoning) of Alzheimer’s disease.

From http://www.alz.org: “As Alzheimer’s progresses, brain cells die and connections among cells are lost, causing cognitive symptoms to worsen. While current medications cannot stop the damage Alzheimer’s causes to brain cells, they may help lessen or stabilize symptoms for a limited time by affecting certain chemicals involved in carrying messages among the brain’s nerve cells. Doctors sometimes prescribe both types of medications together. Some doctors also prescribe high doses of vitamin E for cognitive Three cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly prescribed:

Donepezil (Aricept) is approved to treat all stages of Alzheimer’s.

Rivastigmine (Exelon) is approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

Galantamine (Razadyne) is approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.”

That’s what the Internet reported. I went to the pharmacy this weekend and found many Alzheimer OTC products. I’d ask my doc before using any of them.

Meanwhile, my weeklong cold was hanging in there so I bought some TV averted products. An hour later and I’m still coughing and suffering a runny nose. More on this next week.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.