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New drug research, resource center offer hope for Colorado Alzheimer’s patients

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DENVER -- Seventy-six year old Maryann Campbell still has her spirit of positivity, even though she has Alzheimer's disease.  She sits in the garden at the Seniors’ Resource Center in Denver with her daughter Chris, sharing some sage advice.  She says, “Laughing is a product of the good Lord and you're supposed to do that as much as you can.”

Chris Campbell says Alzheimer’s has taken many things away from her mother. “She can't cook. She can't drive. She doesn't remember what I tell her five minutes to the next.”

Five million people in the U.S. and 60,000 in Colorado have Alzheimer's disease; two-thirds of them are women.

Researchers are discovering new ways to test for Alzheimer's, including the use of a simple eye exam that may reveal the beginning stages of the disease.

Drug research is also showing promise.  Researchers at the University of Colorado Hospital are looking into the drug Leukine as a better treatment that may also hold the key to finding a cure.

The hospital will begin safety trials of Leukine with Alzheimer's patients with the hope of conducting clinical trials after that. It could be a way to attack plaque in the brain that disrupts its ability to function properly.

Until future medical breakthroughs become a reality, many patients are getting the support they need through places like the Seniors' Resource Center.

CEO and President John Zabawa says, “We have been focused on providing support to older adults and families that allow one to remain living independent in the community for as long as possible.”

Chris says the center has been crucial in improving her mother’s quality of life. “It gave us some place where my mom can now be active and engaged and it’s made a world of difference in her.”

It’s been a difference that's bringing back special times for Chris and her mother to cherish.  Maryann seems to capture the true meaning in a touching message she shares with everyone, “Be happy, don't worry be happy.”

Get more information about the signs of Alzheimer’s disease.