Dr. Rodney Guttmann

University of West Florida

A professor at the University Of West Florida is the new Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador for the Florida Panhandle. "I had never been involved in political advocacy before and it sounded like a good opportunity." said Dr. Daniel Durkin, an assistant professor of Social Work at UWF with a specialty in Gerontology.  

Lindsay Myers

Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola was first diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s in 2014, when he was just 54 years old. When WUWF last checked in, LeBlanc shared the fear and anxiety he felt in the past month, when he temporarily lost his ability to speak. Now, we have more of Sandra Averhart’s recent conversation with LeBlanc and UWF Biology professor Dr. Rodney Guttmann, focusing on the medical aspect of the incident and how it relates to Alzheimer’s.

Brian LeBlanc

This past month has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola.

Now age 56, LeBlanc was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s nearly two-and-a-half years ago. As part of his advocacy, he’s been sharing his journey with the disease, including his latest setback and triumph involving his ability to speak.

For about a two week period in February, LeBlanc had the words in his head, but could not talk. There were some isolated words, but no sentences would come out.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

An aging population with a need for independence can be problematic when it comes to matters related to driving. 

Fatality rates for drivers begin to climb after age 65, studies show. From 75 to 84, they are equal to fatality rates of teenage drivers. For drivers 85 and over the rates are nearly 4 times that of teens.  By 2030 all baby boomers will be at least 65 and experts predict they will responsible for more than a fourth of all fatal crashes. 

Brian LeBlanc

Since November of 2015, we’ve been getting to know Brian LeBlanc of Pensacola. He has been diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s. Now in his mid-50's, he has known about his condition for a little over a year now. As we continue our conversation, we focus on how the disease has impacted his daily life and how he’s dealing with it.

“Being this is radio, you can’t see what I’m doing right now, but I’m holding up my cell phone,” said LeBlanc. “That’s my constant companion.”

According to LeBlanc, his phone tells him everything, even when to eat.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people in the U.S., and up to five percent of those have early-onset Alzheimer’s.

In the first of a series of reports, we’ll take a closer look at early-onset Alzheimer’s and we’ll meet a local man, who’s trying to raise awareness by sharing his own story of life with the disease.