As Baby Boomers become senior citizens, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are on track to reach epidemic proportions, with a new diagnosis every 68 seconds and an annual cost of $1.2 trillion projected by 2050, not to mention the psychological toll on family members caring for their loved ones.
Premiering September 18, UCTV Prime’s original series “Heartache and Hope: America’s Alzheimer’s Epidemic,” reveals what it’s like for patients and families living with this devastating disease and how UCLA researchers are leading the charge to slow its progress and, eventually, find a cure.
With 50% of primary caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients at risk of severe clinical depression, UCLA is working with local organizations and community leaders to establish caregiver support groups and connect caregivers to community resource centers. “Heartache and Hope” profiles several, including one established by Patti Davis, daughter of President Ronald Reagan, and another by television personality Leeza Gibbons, who lost her mother to the disease. Both women are featured in the series.
Researchers at UCLA and beyond are moving fast to understand Alzheimer’s disease and develop effective treatments. “Heartache and Hope” includes interviews with top UCLA researchers and their patients involved in the latest clinical trials, some of which demonstrate promising results.
You won’t want to miss this powerful, three-part series premiering September 18 on UCTV Prime’s YouTube channel and website, with new episodes every Tuesday through October 2. In the meantime, watch the trailer and spread the word!
In the UCTV Prime series “Our Digital Life,” we’ve covered how 3-D digital technology is changing the way look at our past and understand our present.
In the third and final episode, we get a glimpse at the future through the eyes of UC Merced scientists and students using 3-D imaging usually reserved for Hollywood blockbusters to break new ground in the study of nanomaterials and reinvent how technology is used the classroom and the lab to teach and train the researchers of the future.
Today, UCTV Prime premieres the first installment in the “UCTV Prime: Cuts,” a biweekly series of segments focusing on research developments, entertaining events and interesting personalities from the University of California.
The debut episode brings viewers inside UC Davis’ Center for Companion Animal Health at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine where veterinarians and physicians are busy researching cancer in both pets and people to develop better treatments for both. It’s a research endeavor that should appeal to dog and human lovers alike.
What makes Dr. Annese’s work unique is that he also studies — and ideally gets to know — the person behind the brain. With this information, he offers an unprecedented holistic perspective on this complex organ.
Dr. Annese’s Digital Brain Library relies on generous brain donations from community members who want to have a role in discovering how disease and aging affect the brain. San Diego resident Bishop Spangler was one of these people.
Bishop passed away on June 12, 2011 after living with GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor) for nine years. In the following paragraphs, his wife Bettie Spangler tells us about her husband, why he felt compelled to donate his brain to Dr. Annese, and how the donation experience profoundly affected Bishop and the entire Spangler family during his final days.
Can you tell us a little bit about your husband?
Bishop Spangler was born in 1932 in a rural area of Southwest Virginia into a farming family of seven children. His family had a proud, rich history of helping settle a community named Meadows of Dan. Growing up, he learned about integrity, helping your neighbors, working as a team, doing deals with a “hand shake,” making your own music, barn dancing, and church. He learned about determination if you wanted to accomplish anything, and the importance of the environment for raising crops and live stock. After high school he found a college in Kentucky where he could go and work his way through and, four years later, he graduated from Berea College with his B.A. degree majoring in physics. He went on to the University of Pittsburgh on a teaching assistant program and earned a Masters in Mathematics, and later his PhD also in Mathematics. He married and later moved to San Diego where he worked in the aerospace industry and raised a family. Eventually, Bishop left the aerospace industry and became an entrepreneur. He loved to “wheel and deal” so he became a real estate broker where he could use many of his gifts/talents/passions. His goal was to always try to help people “stretch in order to obtain their dreams.”
How did your family become involved in the brain library project?
Bishop read an article in the newspaper toward the end of May about the Brain Observatory and the work that Dr. Annese was doing. He showed me the article after he had made the phone call to the paper asking for someone to call him, as he would like to be a donor. He told me that he wanted to give his brain to this project after he died and would I make sure it happened? I said that I did not want to do that for myself, but if that is what he wanted to do, then I would do all I could do to make it happen. He told his children about his decision and they supported him, as we all recognized this as a Bishop thing.
Can you tell us about the experience?
On May 25, 2011 I received a call from Dr. Annese giving me some information about the project. I told him he would need to talk to my husband and he offered to come to our home the next day. Bishop insisted on getting dressed and coming downstairs to meet Dr. Annese, along with our daughter and son. He was ready to sign whatever papers necessary as he knew his time was short and he wanted to take care of business. He was now a brain donor! Dr. Annese was always kind and considerate about not adding pressure or pushing Bishop for more. He would always tell him what was happening during the MRI studies and asking if he felt like doing more. When Bishop got tired he would tell him…no more. At one time the whole family came into the bedroom where Bishop was talking about his early history and the grandchildren asked to sit in. It was fine with Dr. Annese as long as we were quiet. He looked around the room with some on the bed and others on the floor spread out and said, “It looks like camping,” and everyone felt at ease. One of our granddaughters said, “Witnessing Gampa relive key moments of his life through Jacopo’s interviews and knowing that it would be used in support of something he deeply cared about was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.”
Why did your husband want to donate his brain?
Bishop wanted to leave something he could be remembered by—a kind of legacy. He also wanted to leave something that might help humanity in the future. One of our granddaughters said it best, “It made perfect sense since he marked his life with a desire to make a difference and an ongoing quest for deeper understanding about the mysteries of earth and spirituality.”
How did his decision to participate impact his end-of-life experience?
A few days before he died, we were all sitting around in the bedroom listening to him and Dr. Annese talk, when our friend and minister and his wife came in. Introductions were made and then Bishop pointed to Dr. Annese and told our minister, “This man saved my life.” Meaning, he had given him hope that he would live on into the future through this project, and he would be able to contribute something that might help humanity and the scientific community. He lived to accomplish whatever he could give to Dr. Annese for his program.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Annese kept all of the promises he had made. He told me he would be with Bishop at the end and he would arrange everything needed to accomplish what Bishop indicated he wanted to do with his brain after he died. He was very clear in describing the project to us and to share the goals and objectives that he hoped to accomplish. He never pushed us in making any decisions or to keep appointments if it was not convenient. He also came to the Celebration Of Life service and gave support to all the family. By this time, we all considered him part of our family. We still are in contact. He has a kindness and a bedside manner that many do not have today. Bishop loved Jacopo and trusted him with the end of his life.
With hundreds of seminars, conferences and colloquia taking place each week across the University of California system, it’s nearly impossible for today’s scholar to keep up. While many scholarly presentations are posted online after the fact, they often end up buried in departmental or conference websites, making it difficult for anyone unaware of the event to discover on their own.
UCTVSeminars, a new scholar-serving web portal from University of California Television (UCTV), offers a simple, cost-effective solution by providing a single destination for scholars to find and share peer-to-peer scholarly presentations in any academic discipline via video and visual media.
Using UCTV’s existing online dissemination infrastructure and experience organizing large video collections for prime search engine optimization, UCTVSeminars offers an easy-to-navigate user interface that allows visitors to browse videos by subject area, event date, speaker name, conference, host organization or UC campus. While presentations must originate from a University of California campus or affiliated institution, they feature researchers from universities around the world and can be freely viewed in Flash format, downloaded as audio and/or video podcasts, and embedded in outside websites. Presentations are also made available on UCTVSeminars’ YouTube channel and on UCTV’s iTunesU channel.
UC researchers are invited to submit their own video presentations to UCTVSeminars through the easy to use online video uploader. Formats can range from a simple narrated PowerPoint presentation to a highly produced video. Programs will appear alongside user-submitted metadata, including descriptions, related links, lecture notes, and other complementary materials.
For more than a decade, UCTV has gathered and disseminated general interest programming from throughout the University of California to more than 23 million homes nationwide on satellite and cable, and worldwide on its website and YouTube and iTunesU channels. While in-depth and, at times, challenging, UCTV’s content is intended for the general public, with additional content aimed at K-12 teachers and health care professionals. Over the years, UC faculty have expressed interest in making seminar presentations available to fellow scholars online, while also having access to other seminars from throughout the system. Unlike videos created for broadcast, these scholarly presentations require less production effort— minimally just the audio and the PowerPoint of the presentation.
While some departments and conference organizers offer these kinds of presentations online after a seminar or conference has occurred, most are lost to anyone not directly participating. And, with hundreds of events occurring each week, it is virtually impossible to participate in as many as one might like. As a proven aggregator and disseminator of video content, UCTV is applying its expertise to UCTVSeminars by both surfacing and then distributing this valuable content to interested audiences inside and outside the academy.
“The UCTV seminar network is a unique and strategic approach to recording, broadcasting, and/or archiving the hundreds of seminars that take place on UC campuses each week,” said Robert Anderson, Chair, Assembly of the Academic Senate of the University of California and Professor of Economics and Mathematics, University of California Berkeley. “The seminar network enhances UC’s public image as a place of innovation, is consistent with UC’s public service mission, and serves as a valuable scholarly resource.”
UCTVSeminars is an affiliate of University of California Television (UCTV), the non-commercial satellite channel and website of the University of California. UCTV shares educational and enrichment programming from the campuses, national laboratories, and affiliated institutions of the University of California with 23 million homes nationwide on satellite (Dish Network, Ch. 9412) and cable and worldwide via live stream, video archives and podcasting.