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ABC News: ‘Our America: Unforgettable’ Looks at Alzheimer’s Disease Through a Latino Lens

“Our America: Unforgettable,” an hourlong special streaming on ABC7.com, features Zaldy Tan, MD, MPH, medical director of the Jona Goldrich Center for Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders and the Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neurology at Cedars-Sinai, discussing Alzheimer’s disease—a form of dementia affecting nearly 7 million Americans, many of whom are Latino.

“Our America: Unforgettable” follows three Latino families with loved ones experiencing Alzheimer’s. Tan and other experts explore the effects of the disease on this demographic—which is 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s—and on the patients, families and society at large.

“Alzheimer’s is a neurologic disease, meaning it’s a disease of the brain and nerves that affects memory and cognition, our ability to remember things, our ability to learn new things, and our ability to pay attention and plan and execute things,” Tan told ABC News. “It’s very subtle in the beginning, and then it progresses to the point that it becomes undeniable.”

Because Americans are living longer, the collective risk of losing memories and cognition is significant, Tan said. 

“Our memories and our minds are so important in our enjoyment of life and our self-identity,” Tan told ABC News. “So, keeping yourself intellectually stimulated…socially engaged is very important no matter what stage of life.”

Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s include forgetting recently learned information, difficulty performing familiar tasks, confusion about time or place and changes in judgment or decision-making.

Click here to watch “Our America: Unforgettable” and read the related story on ABC7.com.