Columbus, OH,
16:03 PM

Death Of Comedy Genius Brings Attention To Alzheimer's

Actor Gene Wilder's death this week brought some sadness to a world where the star of movies like "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", "Young Frankenstein", and "Blazing Saddles", had brought so many smiles.  A man who lived a very public life on screen, kept a very serious disease quiet to many of his fans.  The 83 year old died from complications of Alzheimer's. 

OhioHealth Neurologist Dr. Geoffrey Eubank says it is up to each individual family on how they will handle breaking the news following a diagnosis for a loved one.  Dr. Eubank says he has seen many occasions where family and friends worked together after a diagnosis, telling many others to create a support system, leaning on each other throughout the process.

“Most diseases impact the patient and also their families, but especially in the setting of Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Eubank said. “Its hallmark is it affects their ability to care for themselves, so families typically need to get involved very early on," he added.

Dr. Eubank says there is still a long ways to go when it comes to medications and treatments for the disease.  He adds true breakthrough will happen when doctors and researchers are able to find a way to stop the progression of the disease, instead of just finding ways to push the pause button.

He hopes the national attention on the celebrity’s death will highlight the desperate need for more research.

NBC4 reporter, Katie Love, spoke with Dr. Eubank and a Dublin couple, who hope Gene Wilder’s secrecy about his battle with Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t stop others from opening up. You can watch Katie's story above.