Bondar talks about memory
September 20, 2006, Robyn Stubbs, 24 hours (Vancouver)
Roberta Bondar may have been Canada’s first woman to launch into space more than
a decade ago, but she’s now on a whole new mission.
Bondar, a neurologist, photographer, author and official spokesperson for the
national initiative Mission for Memories, lands in Vancouver today for a free public
forum about Alzheimer’s disease.
Bondar and the Mission for Memories series is part of an on-going effort to increase
awareness and promote early diagnosis of the progressive neurological disease that
is typically marked by loss of memory, confusion, personality changes and impaired
“People don’t want the diagnosis because they don’t want to deal with it,” Bondar
told 24 hours.
“However, there are treatments now out there that don’t cure Alzheimer’s disease,
but they can slow down the progression of the disease and allow people to be
productive members of the society for longer, and retain dignity as long as we can.”
While Alzheimer’s disease is not part of the natural aging process, the risk of
developing Alzheimer’s increases after the age of 65, said Bondar. And since just
one per cent of Alzheimer’s cases are brought on by genetics, it’s crucial to be
proactive about seeing a doctor as soon as you notice changes in yourself or an
aging family member.
The free Mission for Memories public forum with Bondar and local medical experts
happens tonight (World Alzheimer’s Day) at the Italian Cultural Centre (3075 Slocan
St.) from 7 – 9 pm. Call 604-878-5556 for more information.