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Dalhousie’s Dr. Sultan Darvesh is pioneering the world’s first technology for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages. He and his colleagues are also working to identify a compound that could prevent Alzheimer’s from taking hold and halt the traumatic effects of this disease on patients and their families within our aging society.

Dr. Sultan Darvesh
Dr. Sultan Darvesh

Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, Mrs. Karen Brown’s husband Wally moved into an assisted living facility one year ago, when his needs became so demanding that he required 24-hour care. While the loss of Wally living at home was devastating for Karen, she took comfort in visiting with him at his new home, talking to him, singing for him, helping with his personal care and showing him love in any way she could. This all changed in March of 2020, however, with the onset of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.

Not being able to have physical contact with Wally throughout the pandemic has been incredibly difficult for Karen, as her husband’s Alzheimer’s continues to progress. Visiting at his window outside his care facility in the early days of COVID-19, Karen’s heart would break when Wally would try to reach out to her through the glass. Today, she relies mainly on video technology to visit with her husband.

Karen Brown
Mrs. Karen Brown

While Wally is nearing the end of his journey, Alzheimer’s research at Dalhousie gives Karen hope for others in the future.

“There is still so much we don’t know about Alzheimer’s, including why a healthy, active person like Wally would have gotten it. But what gives me hope is that we could one day prevent and cure this devastating disease, thanks to modern medicine. Dalhousie researchers like Dr. Darvesh are working hard to do this, and I am deeply impressed by their work. It won’t help my Wally now, but it will help my children and grandchildren. I give my support to medical research and to the Molly Appeal for them, and I hope others will too.” - Mrs. Karen Brown, South Shore, NS