S is for Alanna Shaikh: How I’m Preparing To Get Alzheimer’s Disease

Alanna starts her talk by saying:

“I’d like to talk about my Dad. My Dad has Alzheimer’s Disease.”

After describing her father and how loving he is, Alanna outlines the steps she is taking in case she suffers the illness.

The TED site provides the following background to her talk.

Global development expert Alanna Shaikh takes on the toughest of health issues – from the ones affecting the globe at large to the ones hurting her own family.

On her blog, Blood and Milk, she aims to make global development issues both accessible and understandable.

In her TED Book, What’s Killing Us, she explains the biggest challenges in global wellness — from HIV/AIDS to the diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics – in a way that anyone can understand.

Earlier this year, she co-founded AidSource, a social network for aid workers.

She is also the co-founder of the group SMART Aid, which educates donors and start-up projects about international aid. 

Alanna is especially interested in Alzheimer’s, as she has watched her father deteriorate from the disease over the past 12 years.

But she says the experience has not sent her into denial – she plans to be prepared for the genetically transmitted disease, should it ever arrive. 

Alanna intends to develop a ‘hobby’ to keep her hands and mind active. She also intends to keep her body healthy. She says:

“The more things my hands know how to do, the more things that I can be happy and busy doing when my brain’s not running the show anymore.”

She moves on the third point which, she says, is for her more difficult. She aims to continue to become ‘a better person’.

Alanna refers to her Dad, who emits love. She says that, to fight the disease:

“I need a heart so pure that if it’s stripped bare by dementia, it will survive.”

You can find out more about Alanna’s work on Global Health at the following site.



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