The Struggles of the Caregiver, the Search for a Cure: Two Responses to
Alzheimer’s with Professor Eitan Okun & Simon McDermott

Original Air Date Wednesday, December 12, 2018 


Alzheimer’s disease is often called the silent killer because symptoms seem to appear out of nowhere and family members often remain quiet about the upheaval in the family dynamic. The search for a cure remains elusive to researchers because the exact cause of the disease is unknown. Steadfast Alzheimer’s researcher, Professor Eitan Okun shares information about the factors which may lead to Alzheimer’s disease as well as prevention and treatment tactics. And, Author Simon McDermott shares his first-hand experience of how his father’s sudden shift affected his family and the joyful, viral video that created a community for other struggling caregivers.

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Professor Eitan Okun — The Search for a Cure:
  • Professor Okun discusses his research in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s, environmental risk factors, and the genetic factors which may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. [2:43]
  • Is there a promising vaccine to treat Alzheimer’s disease in a targeted population? [7:03]
  • The genetic, geographical, and lifestyle management practices that may play a part in the prevention of disease. [15:04]

Professor Eitan Okun has been a ‘lifer’ at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, having earned his master’s and doctorate in immunology there. His master’s research analyzed how stress can affect a person’s immunity to various diseases. For his doctorate, he concentrated on the immune system – specifically how different nodes in our immune system respond to various threats. While Alzheimer’s is Dr. Okun’s primary focus, he is also conducting studies in other areas. In 2015, he received a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to help look for Parkinson’s disease in an MRI.

Professor Eitan Okun Website

Simon McDermott — The Struggles of the Caregiver:
  • Simon was frightened by his father’s sudden aggressiveness which seemed to come out of nowhere. [26:53]
  • How Simon created a fundraising phenomenon by taking his dad to a place of joy. [29:01]
  • Simon’s journey mirrors that of other caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients from all over the world [31:28]
  • Decca Records offered Teddy Mac an opportunity to record a charity single after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. [39:03]

Simon “Mac” McDermott is the son of club singer Teddy Mac – ‘The Songaminute Man’. In 2013, Ted developed Alzheimer’s Disease which made him violent and aggressive. After receiving support from the Alzheimer’s Society, Simon decided to raise money on their behalf, as well as share his Dad’s voice with the world. He recorded videos of his father singing in the car and uploaded them to Facebook. A viral sensation overnight with over 60 million views worldwide, they’ve also raised over 200 thousand dollars.

Book: The Song a Minute Man: A Tribute to the Unbreakable Bond Between Father and Son

Song a Minute Man Website
@songaminute on Twitter
Song a Minute on Facebook

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