Filmgoers will get an idea of what it is like to be diagnosed with and to live with Alzheimer’s disease with the release of the movie “Still Alice” in cinemas nationwide today.
The film, based on the 2007 book of the same name by Lisa Genova, tells the story of Alice Howland, a 50-year-old linguistics professor at Harvard who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Playing Howland is actress Julianne Moore, who just received an Academy Award nomination for best actress for the role.
Genova knows more than most people about Alzheimer’s. She has a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard, and has become an activist whose goal is to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive conditions.
In an interview with CBS News, Genova said she was motivated to write the book after her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. However, she soon found that there was a lack of understanding among people about what it feels like to actually have the disease.
“With Alzheimer's we're not there yet — this idea of going to the doctor to talk about cognition,” Genova said. “This education is starting to sneak its way into the consciousness of the public, and so I think we're going to see more cases of diagnosis in the younger crowd because people are more willing to have that conversation with their physician.”
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks, according to the National Institute on Aging. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first…
“I can see the words hanging in front of me and I can’t reach them, and I don’t know who I am, and I don’t know what I’m going to lose next,” says Alice Howland, the main character in the new film “Still Alice,” which opens today nationwide.
The movie is based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Lisa Genova, who it turns out isn’t just a novelist. Before turning to writing fiction, Genova earned a PhD in neuroscience at Harvard University, and has since become an activist seeking to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions that are too often misunderstood.