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Can New Talents Develop After a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Posted Sep 18 2013 11:13am
I am asked if this type of cognitive ability can slow down the process of deterioration from Alzheimer's disease. It seems that it could be beneficial in this regard.

By Max Wallack
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

I would like to introduce you to the work of Dr. Daniel C. Potts, a neurologist in Alabama. Dr. Potts’s father died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007.

Having never painted previously, Dr. Potts’s dad became an acclaimed watercolor artist after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Here is an amazing video of this artist’s work


Dr. Potts is now, “Very interested in improving quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s disease, their care givers and families, as well as building intergenerational relationships with youth and elderly.”

He has created a foundation, Cognitive Dynamics , “dedicated to improving the quality of life through the arts.” 
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Have your read Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? An Explanation of Alzheimer's Disease for Children?  Check it out here .
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Dr. Potts is in the process of creating an educational curriculum called Let me Be Your Memory, “a middle school language arts curriculum to raise Alzheimer’s awareness and educate youth on the art of memoir and life story.” He has created a fundraising site here , in the hope of taking the program to many more students.

I have seen and heard of many instances of artistic abilities being retained long after diagnosis and after many other cognitive abilities have been muted. This is the first time that I have seen such talent emerge after Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Again and again, with the distribution of my Springbok PuzzlesToRemember , I am asked if this type of cognitive ability can slow down the process of deterioration from this disease. It seems that it could be slightly beneficial in this regard.

What is much more clear and obvious is that musical and artistic endeavors have a very real and documented positive effect on the quality of life of Alzheimer’s patients.

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Max Wallack is a student at Boston University and a Research Intern in the Molecular Psychiatry and Aging Laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Max is also coauthor of the book, "Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? An Explanation of Alzheimer's Disease For Children" You are reading original content +Bob DeMarco  , the Alzheimer's Reading Room
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