Sen. Markey hopes new documentary will shed light on Alzheimer's
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The country might be focused on the coronavirus, but Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOcasio-Cortez says having Green New Deal would have helped handle COVID-19 pandemic OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push expansion of offshore wind, block offshore drilling with ocean energy bill | Poll: Two-thirds of voters support Biden climate plan | Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes MORE says the pandemic is simply proof that more attention should be given to another devastating disease: Alzheimer’s.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who founded and co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, appears in “Turning Point,” a just-released documentary that explores the search to develop the first medication to treat the disease.

“We should take the coronavirus as a warning,” Markey, speaking alongside the film’s director, James Keach, told ITK in a Tuesday interview. “If we don’t use science properly to deal with issues that affect all of humanity, then the price we pay is catastrophic.”

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Keach, who also directed “Glen Campbell: I’ll be Me,” an acclaimed 2014 documentary about the late country music singer’s Alzheimer’s battle on his farewell tour, says that one of the big takeaways from his new film “is that scientists are human.”

“I discovered that almost every one of the scientists had Alzheimer’s or dementia in their family. It’s a totally different view of what these folks do every single day and how difficult their job is. You also see caregiving up close and very personal,” he said.

“This is not a partisan issue, Alzheimer’s. It’s like the virus — it has no political party. The scientists, they’re the new superheroes,” said Keach.

Markey also has a personal connection to the film, which is available to rent or own starting at $5 on Altavod, as well as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play and others. He watched as his father cared for Markey’s “brilliant” mother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1985.

“My father, who was a truck driver, said to me, ‘Eddie, it was an honor that your mother married me. It’s essential that your mother stay here in the living room.’ ”

And for 12 years, Markey’s mother did just that.

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“I was there with him, just helping him though. He was the primary caregiver, and I could see these families are heroes, but heroes need help,” said Markey.

The 74-year-old lawmaker said he hopes the documentary draws more attention to Alzheimer’s and “will only help to make it easier” to pass legislation that increases funding for research.

“COVID knows no boundaries,” said director Keach, “and neither does Alzheimer’s.”

“In the 1960s when I was growing up it was a mission to the moon,” Markey added, “In the 21st century, it’s a mission to the mind that we have to successfully navigate.”