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Sam's Story: The Latest Chapter in 'A Story of Health'

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The latest chapter in A Story of Health is now available!

 Increasing forgetfulness, missed appointments, and repeating himself were disturbing changes in Sam’s behavior that concerned his son, daughter-in-law, and two longtime friends. In this newest and fifth chapter of A Story of Health eBook, ( 72-year-old Sam, his family, friends and health care providers confront Sam’s cognitive decline beginning after his wife’s death and explore how they might be able to slow or reverse it. Is it normal aging? Something more serious that could progress to full-blown dementia? Related to underlying depression or another treatable disease?

Progressive cognitive decline and dementia are among the most feared disorders that people and their families encounter. They are also a growing public health challenge since they become more likely with aging and the number of people older than 65 is increasing in many countries throughout the world.


Studies in the US and Northern Europe, however, find a decrease in age-adjusted dementia incidence in recent years not fully explained by improved education, lifestyle, and cardiovascular health. Environmental risk factors are likely to be involved. This suggests more opportunities for primary prevention.

Sam’s story reviews numerous modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia, including environmental variables that can be causally related such as air pollution, lead, pesticides, and solvents. The chapter also explores environmental links to Parkinson’s disease that afflicts Sam’s long-time friend George, in whom he confides.

Sam’s story includes his clinical evaluation, discussion of potential interventions, and general recommendations for healthy aging. It is available free online in an easy-to-read PDF format. The eBook uses videos, infographics and articles by experts to illustrate where and how we live, eat, work, and play can influence health across the lifespan. Written for health care providers, health advocates, policy makers and others concerned about environmental influences on healthy aging, the story includes links to additional resources and is fully referenced.

Health professionals can register for free continuing education credits (CE) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with ATSDR hosting the CE accreditation pages.

The first four chapters of the eBook featuring asthma, developmental disabilities, childhood leukemia and infertility/reproductive health are also available to download for free.  Since their original release, the first three are updated and have additional references.

A Story of Health has been developed in a collaboration among the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) , the Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE) at the University of California, Berkeley, Commonweal , the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California EPA (OEHHA), the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN), and the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (WSPEHSU) .