On Thursday, October 3rd, 2019, graduate students at the Diana Rogovin Davidow Speech Learning and Hearing Center hosted a bake sale for World Alzheimer’s Day, and to raise awareness of suicide prevention.
Second year graduate students Daniella Lahno and Danielle Kancelaric sold bakery items in front of the Whitehead Breezeway for the cause, despite the cold, rainy Thursday.
“It is a topic that most people don’t talk about,” said Lahno, the treasurer of the graduate Speech-Language Hearing Organization, “Bringing awareness leads to an important conversation that we as a society need to have.” Lahno emphasized that knowledge is power, and that refusing to discuss illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease will not help us find a cure.
Kancelaric, the president of the organization, notes that “suicide and depression are often linked.” Recent studies have proven this statement. According to a recent study from Harvard Medical School, studies saw “a significant link between worsening depression symptoms and declining cognition over two to seven years that was influenced by Alzheimer’s disease pathology,” as per the article. The article on Harvard Medical School’s website entitled, “Depression and Alzheimer’s” by MGH Public Affairs thoroughly presents these findings.
However, it is also emphasizes that studies are still on going. This is a primary reason why spreading awareness matters. “We want to bridge the idea that awareness can lead to prevention,” Kancelaric says. This played a big factor in the graduate students deciding to host a bake sale for both World Alzheimer’s Day and suicide prevention awareness together.
Heung-Yun, known as Theresa Yang, is an assistant professor at the college and helps oversee this graduate student organization. Yang acknowledges that while it is important that students attend class, “the graduate student organizations allow students to socialize with each other while supporting important causes like these.”
An article written in 2013 by Judith Graham entitled, “Does Depression Contribute to Dementia?,” references a report noted in the British Journal of Psychiatry. As stated, “The researchers found that depressed adults over the age of 50 were more than twice as likely to develop vascular dementia and 65% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to adults in the same age bracket without depression”(Graham).
Kancelaric and Lahno mentioned that they are actively reaching out to Nursing and Rehabilitation centers in New York to send cards to those struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s Walk in New York is slowly approaching, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 26. Many individuals will be walking to raise money for continued study on Alzheimer’s disease. As second year graduate students Kancelaric and Lahno said, awareness is key. The more we know, the more we can do to catch early signs of this disease.