Argosy University Blog

What is Alzheimer’s Disease & What Are the Symptoms?

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The statistics surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease are staggering—and they show no evidence of improving.

More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. By 2050, that number is expected to more than triple. Every 66 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops the disease, and it kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Alzheimer’s has become the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Worldwide, nearly 47 million people are living with this progressive disease.

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Do you know the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s? According to the Alzheimer Association ( www.alz.org), ten early signs of Alzheimer’s include:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these warning signs, call your doctor. Avoiding smoking, eating a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits and lean protein, and an active lifestyle of daily physical and social activity can be among the most effective ways to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

For information and support, visit www.alz.org, www.alzfdn.org, or call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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U.S. Life Expectancy Drops for First Time in 24 Years. So Now What?

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How long will you live?

It’s not a question many of us want to spend a lot of time pondering. But perhaps we should.

Statistics released by the National Center for Health Statistics in December, 2016 show that American life expectancy has decreased for the first time in more than two decades. The average life expectancy for Americans is 78.8 years. The life expectancy for the average American male fell from 76.5 to 76.3 years. For women, it dropped from 81.3 to 81.2 years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease continues to rank as the leading cause of death in the United States. But the good news is that simple lifestyle changes can significantly improve your heart health—and your odds of living a longer. Below are three tips on how to live a long life:

1. Get moving. A study cited by the American Heart Association shows that walking briskly for just 30 minutes a day can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running. One step at a time, you can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

2. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, even modest weight loss can improve or prevent health problems associated with being overweight or obese. That’s why they recommend following a heart healthy diet that includes low-calorie, nutrient dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They also suggest weighing yourself at least once a week and knowing and avoiding the “food traps” that trigger impulse eating.

3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking contributes to a long list of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, osteoporosis, emphysema, and stroke—and stopping smoking tops the list of Harvard Medical School’s “Tips for a Longer Life”. Research shows that when smokers quit, their risk of heart disease begins to drop within months. Within five years, it matches that of a person who has never smoked.

The bottom line? We each possess a great degree of control over our health and our odds of greater longevity. It’s all about making choices—and healthy lifestyle changes.

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For Dr. Joffrey Suprina, Life Is the Teacher

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When Dr. Joffrey Suprina was a sixth grader in Winter Haven, Florida, he learned a lesson that has served him well ever since.

His homeroom teacher walked into the classroom closet one morning and emerged moments later to ask her students a question: “So what’s different about me than when you saw me a minute ago?”

It was more than a lesson in being observant and present. It was a lesson in teaching—from a woman who also happened to be his mother.

“She had a way of engaging and connecting with students in a way that was very effective,” Suprina remembers. “Over the years, I’ve really come to appreciate how so much of what I learned from my mother—both in the classroom and in life—impacts how I teach and how I relate to people.”

Relating to people is at the core of what Suprina does. As Dean of the College of Counseling, Psychology and Social Sciences at Argosy University, he oversees all college programs, accreditations, curriculum, budgeting and academic endeavors across 19 campuses and online programs. He manages 27 department chairs and more than 100 faculty.

While his mother taught him “people skills”, Suprina’s father instilled a strong work ethic and taught him the power of trying new things. His father got him a job working at a citrus experiment station when he was just 12 years old. Suprina worked with an entomologist counting bugs under a microscope, with an inventor designing fruit picking machines, and with a chemist making wine. Says Suprina: “My father believed that trying different things was valuable because while what you’re doing may not be your dream job, you can cross it off your list—and it may help you identify what you want to be when you grow up.”

When Suprina graduated with his B.A. in Music from Rollins College in 1980, he never imagined his career path would lead to academia. Over the years, he worked as an audio-visual producer, a nationally certified massage therapist, a conflict resolution mediator, a choir director, a case manager, an arts programming director, a clinical mental health counselor, and even as a clown for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

“Even though I never set out to be a teacher or a dean, everything I’ve ever done has led me here and prepared me for this work, even if I didn’t realize it at the time,” says Suprina. “I think that when you follow your bliss and do what you love, the path forward presents itself.”

Suprina, who earned his Ph.D. in Counseling from George State University in 2006, is a big believer that the best path is not always the most direct.

“When you sail, you tack to the left, then you tack to the right,” Suprina says. “You’re not moving in a straight line, yet you’re still moving forward. That’s certainly been true in my life and career.”

Suprina, who is the founder and editor of The Practitioner Scholar: Journal of Counseling and Professional Psychology , continues to teach multiculturalism and counseling skills classes in addition to his duties as dean. He says he thrives on the energy of the classroom.

“I think teaching is both an art and a science,” Suprina says. “While it’s always a great idea to have an outline of where you’re going, I also think there’s value in being flexible and fluid. When you stick to the script, it’s easy to miss the miracles. When a class discussion veers off course, I trust that the conversation is going where it needs to go—and that something valuable will result. Being talked at is rather boring, so I’d much rather create a conversation that gets people thinking, asking questions, and sharing ideas. To me, it’s a much more stimulating way to teach—and to learn.”

Suprina says he especially enjoys the dynamic of interacting with adult learners.

“One of the benefits of working with adult students is that you can learn as much as you teach,” he explains “They often ask wonderful, thoughtful questions and bring a real world experience and perspective to the classroom that is very energizing. They also tend to be more pragmatic. They want to understand how whatever topic you’re addressing in class can benefit them in their career. They’re motivated and invested in the results.”

As Dean, Suprina says he has a clear focus on what he wants all Argosy students to receive.

“I want us to share techniques, approaches, and philosophies that our students can actually apply in the real world to make it a better place,” Suprina says. “What are the benefits of studying a particular topic? How is it going to help me be more effective in my career? How can I make a difference? I want students at Argosy to be able to ask—and answer—those questions.” ###

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