Dementia research is very important to us. The brain behind T-ZL, Kelly Nolte, succumbed to dementia in 2008 at the age of 55. He was
|Kelly in the early 90's|
This was very concerning to me, Kelly's sister, and our brother, Casey. Is this something hereditary? I wound up doing a 23andme** health test and found that I have two copies of the APOE4 gene, which puts me at a higher risk - 55% - of developing Late-Onset Alzheimer's disease. You can find a good explanation of how the APOE genes work here**.
Did it freak me out? Maybe a little. I started looking at my family. As far as I can find out, there has been no one on either side of my family that ever had Alzheimer's.
Another consideration I had was the way the APOE genes work. Everyone has two - one from your mother, one from your father. Since I have two e4, that means both my mother and father each had at least one e4. Having one e4 with an e2 or e3 puts you at a 35% higher risk.
My father passed away at the age of 69 from COPD - he was a lifelong heavy smoker. Fortunately, he died in his sleep, not even knowing he had COPD because he rarely went to the doctor and didn't go through the pain of cancer or other horrible disease. He showed no signs of dementia before he died.
My mom is a different story. She just turned 87 in June and has no indication of cognitive impairment whatsoever. I won't say she has had the healthiest lifestyle in the world - we tend to eat as we please in this family and we all could benefit from losing a few pounds. The difference, I believe*, is that she has never stopped learning and keeping her mind engaged.
This woman is amazing at crossword puzzles - the hard ones in the newspapers! A week doesn't go by that she doesn't read at least three or four books - fiction and non-fiction. She knows history like crazy - ask her about almost anything and there is a good chance that she will have some knowledge about it. She has hobbies to keep her busy. She knows what is going on in the world - the news is always on her TV. On her 80th birthday, I gave her a tablet - everyone told me it was a waste of money, she would never learn to use it. Well, guess what? She loves it - she looks stuff up on it, checks out her own books from the library and reads them on it, and plays games on it. And she is currently on her 4th tablet because she keeps burning them out!
This makes me believe that even though I am at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's around the ages of 65 - 70 and I am currently 61, I am not going to develop it. I keep busy. Along with working on Time-Zone Labs, I have hobbies - reading, quilting/sewing, diamond painting, cross stitch, computers, watercolor painting - just to mention a few. I love to learn and when I drive long distances (which is often) I listen to books I get from the library - I just listened to "The Inexplicable Universe" by Neil deGrasse Tyson (highly recommended) and "The Story of Medieval England From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest" by Jennifer Paxton (again, highly recommended!) Both are from the Great Courses lecture series. (If you are not familiar with the Great Courses** series, see if your library carries them before buying them - they are kind of pricey.)
Another thing I do is watch a lot of documentaries. I love the stuff you find on PBS and the Smithsonian Channel, and others like them. I take online courses through my library - they have an incredible eResources page of databases that includes Gale Courses that all I need is a current library card and I can take the courses for free - I took a beginning sign language course this past spring! Up until just a few years ago, I had no idea that libraries had this kind of thing - and it's not just mine, but probably yours as well. Find your library online and see what they have to offer.
My concerns also led me to becoming involved in an Alzheimer's prevention drug study because, even though Kelly didn't die from Alzheimer's, he had a rarer form of dementia, I want to help defeat all forms of dementia. Since I have two e4, that means I have passed one onto my daughter, which she could have passed onto her kids. I was very sad when the drug study was discontinued early because I felt that it may be my only chance to make a contribution to humanity. I am on the lookout for another dementia study to participate in. I encourage everyone to become involved in helping defeat this horrible disease.
I hope this will inspire someone, even just one person, to consider how they spend their time if they aren't already keeping up with the daily news and finding mind-engaging things to do. Especially as you get older. Get involved. Trust me, I watched Kelly go from a very vibrant, smart, funny person to a vegetable - it's not pretty. Do it for your family so they don't have to witness that.
It just dawned on me - Kelly wrote stories about the past, events in history - memories. It's rather ironic that he lost his.
All that being said, I will repeat -
Time-Zone Labs cares. That's why forty percent (40%) of anything earned from this website goes to dementia research.
Please remember, I will take requests for dates and cities to make a specific item for you. You will also get a free shipping code link to your item. Awesome gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, or special occasions!
|Example of custom shirt made for my grandson|
Thanks for your support!
*disclaimer - I am in no way any kind of medical expert, this is just my personal opinion.
**disclaimer - I have no affiliation with the above mentioned sites - I am just sharing some good stuff!