Plaques & Tangles
Technology Background

What is Alzheimer's disease:

This is a disease that involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.  It damages the person's ability to reason, remember, speak, perform simple tasks or calculations.  In most cases this causes anxiety, and paranoia that no longer allows them to complete daily routine activities.  Eventually, the person is dependent on a full time caregiver.  As of right now there is an estimated 4.5 million people in the United States who are currently suffering from this disease.


Ever since my grandmother died of Alzheimer's Disease five years ago I have been interested in finding out more about this horrific disease.  I watched it destroy her memory, and watch an independent strong woman become weak.  With today's technology researches are learning more about this disease, and what we may be able to do to help it.  For instance, stem cell research has made a break through by discovering when injecting stem cells into the damaged area of the brain they can regenerate new growth.  With the moral issue behind stem cell research any real cure has come to a stand still.


With this project I would like to do my best to symbiate what it may be like in the world of someone who has Alzheimer's.   This will be difficult to do with out being able to communicate with those who have the disease, so instead I will use my personal experience as a guide.  The installation will consist of a large room made with one entrance, and one exit.  In order to exit the room the viewer will have to go through a maze of string.  In my mind this string will represent the damaged tangles in one's brain with Alzheimer's, as well as the struggle one may have communicating with someone who has the disease.  The stubble represents the struggle on both ends.  The room will be dimmed with projected lights that are timed up with different recorded voices.  These voices will be similar to a family member who is trying to communicate, and asking questions that a family member or friend might ask.  The lights with flash with each pause between words in order to make getting through the maze more difficult.  Once you reach the other side there will be a button to push to make the lights go back on, and a survey to fill out to let me know the level of difficulty on getting through the tangles.  It will also ask how affective the installation was.

Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour
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The Brain Tour explains how the brain works and how Alzheimer's affects it.

Taking the tour: There are 16 interactive slides. As you view each slide, roll your mouse over any colored text to highlight special features of each image. Then, click on the arrow to move to the next slide.

derived from www.alz.org