Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that directly affects 5.4 million Americans. In 2013, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s will total an estimated $203 billion, including $142 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Despite advances in drug research, Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death in the U.S. that still cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. An undergraduate student group, the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies (HCAB) program, is sponsoring an interdisciplinary symposium, targeted at students, but open to the public, to help us remember why this is one disease that we cannot afford to forget.

Journalist and TV personality Meredith Vieira will moderate the symposium, which will be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on April 20 at First Parish Cambridge Meetinghouse (across from Johnson Gate). The TED-style discussion will allow experts from across many fields to present their research, experiences, and perspectives on this complex issues. The speakers include physicians, researchers, leaders of advocacy, public policy or alternative therapy initiatives. In addition, there will be testimony from a man who has an early-onset form of the disease.

HCAB hopes to facilitate this dialogue as a means for students, family members, healthcare providers, and the general public to realize the broad impact of the disease. The group believes the event will also present an opportunity to learn about the latest in policy and research, to ask questions, and perhaps most importantly, be inspired to take action.

For ticket information, visit http://halzsymposium.eventbrite.com/.

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