Something to Focus On Other Than Your Lips, Eyes and Thighs

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I’VE BEEN THINKING

I don’t care what you wear or don’t wear. I don’t care how much you spend on makeup and/or fillers. I don’t care if you’ve had plastic surgery or want to in the future. I don’t care if you’ve been divorced, dropped out of work to raise your kids, or worked like a lunatic your entire life.

I don’t care if you are a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Green, or a decline-to-state. I don’t care what your job is, how much money you make, or who you know or don’t know. I don’t care if you are a Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant or atheist. I don’t care if you identify as male or female, gay or straight, black, white, brown, or none of the above.

I really don’t care.

What I do care about is your mind, and I want to get into it. I care not just because it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, although I do care deeply about mental health. (In fact, this campaign caught my attention and allowed me to approach the subject with my kids in a new way). I care because I want to help you protect your mind and make it last a lifetime.

Every 66 seconds, a new brain develops Alzheimer’s. Two-thirds of those brains belong to women, and no one knows why that is. To me (and I hope to you as well) that’s unacceptable.

It is my mission to find out why Alzheimer’s is robbing so many people of their minds in the prime of their lives. I’ve seen what Alzheimer’s does up close and I don’t want YOU to have to experience losing your mind or have to watch someone you love lose theirs. (Take my word for it, it is truly mind-blowing to witness.)

That’s why I was so grateful that Congress gave a $2 billion raise in funding to the National Institutes of Health last week. In March, I testified on this issue and asked Congress to protect NIH funding because it’s so critical to advancing our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s. I’m proud that this bipartisan action took place and that $400 million of the money will be going to Alzheimer’s research.

I have to say that I was deflated just a few days later, though, when Washington divided itself again along party lines and left those who depend on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) holding their breath.

Today, our Sunday Paper is focused on the most expensive health crisis facing our nation — Alzheimer’s — and what you can do to protect your brain.

We’ve asked a few amazing Architects of Change to share their views about what you can do today to save that thing in your head that controls your mind — that all-powerful organ that is so often overlooked.

My passion for the mind is what motivated me to start Move For Minds, an event that will be held in eight cities on June 4 and that focuses on engaging you in the areas that we know help keep your mind working at its best: exercise, nutrition, stress-reduction, social activity and more. I hope you’ll join me.

My mother always drilled into me the importance of developing my mind. She’d say, “Maria, your looks will go, but if you develop your brain, it will last you a lifetime and make all the difference in your lifetime.”

So, while I am trying to hold onto my looks as long as I can (haha), I’m primarily focused on my brainpower and yours. I care deeply about both.

Our minds are something we all have in common. Together, we can save them.

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