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First Alzheimer's Walk on Sept. 24 will promote awareness of the disease

The first Regina Alzheimer's Walk will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, in the west end of the Regina Medical Center Nininger Clinic parking lot. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

"This is a great way to stay in shape and work toward finding a cure for Alzheimer's," said Gwen Pangerl of Regina's Adult Day Care program. "The goal of the Regina Alzheimer's Walk is to raise community awareness of Alzheimer's disease."

Participants can choose to walk, jog or run the one-mile Regina campus route or the 8K river route. Each participant is asked to raise $100.

The first 150 participants to preregister will receive an official Regina Alzheimer's Walk T-shirt free of charge with their donation. All proceeds are designated for the Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with their life. It is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer's, symptoms first appear after age 60.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, it is estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans have the disease.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning--thinking, remembering and reasoning--and behavioral abilities, to such an extent that it interferes with a person's daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.

Alzheimer's disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles). Plaques and tangles in the brain are two of the main features of Alzheimer's disease. The third is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain.

Registration forms are available at They can be completed and returned to Kim Schrader, Regina Medical Center, 1175 Nininger Road, Hastings MN 55033. More information is available by contacting Schrader at 651-480-6812 or Pangerl at 651-480-4236.