Stem Cells, Alzheimer’s, and Caregiving: Susan L. Solomon Guests Stars on the “Thank You Dan and Alex” Podcast
“Stem cells allow us to understand what exactly is broken, and therefore, what needs to be fixed,” NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon explained. “The problem with Alzheimer’s is that we’ve spent a lot of time and money developing treatments without really understanding exactly what causes the disease.”
Ms. Solomon was speaking with Alzheimer’s patient advocates Dan Gasby and Alex Lerner on their podcast, the “Thank You Dan and Alex” show. Both Mr. Gasby and Ms. Lerner have acted as caregivers for loved ones with the disease and established the “Thank You Dan and Alex” show to address issues facing the Alzheimer’s community.
In her episode, entitled “Stem Cells and Alzheimer’s”, Ms. Solomon discussed the future of Alzheimer’s treatments, how stem cells are opening the door for better understanding of the disease, and the importance of self-preservation for caregivers.
“Every single drug that has been tried for Alzheimer’s has failed, and every single one has been tested both in mice and under the assumption that every person’s disease is exactly the same,” Ms. Solomon said. “We believe that Alzheimer’s isn’t one disease, but rather a collection of diseases that differs across individuals.”
Using its state-of-the-art technologies such as the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array®, NYSCF is generating the brain cells affected by Alzheimer’s, studying how individual and population genetics impact the disease, testing drugs, and developing new treatments.
Ms. Solomon, Mr. Gasby, and Ms. Lerner also discussed the hardships of acting as a caregiver.
“The biggest challenge I have to face is determining how to maintain B’s dignity and my sanity,” remarked Mr. Gasby. He has cared for his wife, B. Smith, since her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2014.
“One of the hardest things about watching someone with Alzheimer’s is to see that they are robbed of their dignity,” agreed Ms. Lerner.
The three speakers agreed that to be a better caregiver, it is important to maintain self-care.
“Every human being has an innate need to self-preserve, but you feel that any time you spend doing that should be spent on the patient,” said Ms. Solomon. “However, if you neglect to care for yourself, it can be a disaster.”
Listen to the full podcast below or on WABC radio.