A word cloud in the shape of a brain.

Historic UW Health Alzheimer’s study participant speaks on impact of research

By Kathryn Larson, Spectrum News

UW Health celebrates two decades of the world’s largest family history study one participant shares her deep connection to the important project.

“It was very hard to watch her kind of wither away,” daughter Kathy Schmitt said about seeing her mother, Dorothy, died of Alzheimer’s at just 67. “It’s just a horrible disease.”

That’s why in 2005, when her mother gave her body to science, she enrolled in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP).   

“It was a way to honor my mother. But as it has been turning out, it’s a way to honor her whole family,” Schmitt said.

Because out of mother’s dozen siblings, four more were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

“It’s a very high percentage,” she said.

As one of 1,700 WRAP participants, every two years, Schmitt travels three hours for two days of brain imagining, blood work and cognitive testing at UW Health. Read more …