Still Alice: Understanding Alzheimer’s

By Lynda Millner   |   March 28, 2019
Sponsors and hosts Hollye and Jeff Jacobs flank the keynote UCSB Arts & Lectures speaker Lisa Genova at her reception

Still Alice is considered the definitive and illuminating novel about Alzheimer’s disease and it was written by Lisa Genova. She recently gave a lecture on the subject for UCSB’s Arts & Lectures at Campbell Hall. Prior to the talk, sponsors Hollye and Jeff Jacobs gave a private reception for her at their home.

Genova’s TED talk in 2017 “What You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer’s” was one of the most popular having been viewed more than two million times. Lisa graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude, Phi Bata Kappa from Bates College with a degree in biopsychology and has a doctorate in neuroscience from Harvard University. She writes novels to demystify neurological disorders.

She is inspired by Oliver Sacks and embodies his notion that “In examining disease we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.”

There are several kinds of dementia, which is an umbrella for Alzheimer’s as well as those other conditions. One in three persons will develop Alzheimer’s. At this point there doesn’t seem to be a cure but there is promising research on what each of us can do to build an Alzheimer’s resistant brain. It depends on how you live: aerobics, Mediterranean diet, sleep, keeping active, and no chronic stress.

Shari and George Isaac with Sire Marshall at the Jacobs’ reception
Nellie Hill and Amal Abdulkadir at the private reception before the lecture at Campbell Hall

Through fiction Lisa has written about Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, autism, Huntington’s disease, and ALS. Speaking on these issues she has appeared on The Today Show, Dr. Oz, CNN, PBS NewsHour, and NPR. In1015Lisa was named one of the U.S. Top 50 influencers in aging by Next Avenue and there’s more credits. Neuroscience and the human spirit equally inspire Lisa’s stories.

Still Alice was adapted into a film in 2015 starring Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin for which Moore won the Academy Award for Best Actress. You might want to check it out. For patron or ticket information for UCSB Arts & Lectures call 805.893.3535. You’ll be glad you did.


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