Caltech Y recently hosted an online presentation by Caltech professor and Vice Provost Cindy Weinstein on her upcoming book, “Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain.”
Weinstein and Dr. Bruce Miller from the Global Brain Health Institute at UC San Francisco shared their experience writing a memoir that combines literature and neurology to tell the story of Weinstein’s father’s early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
When Weinstein was studying to become a professor of literature, her father was diagnosed with the disease. Ironically, her love of words was accompanied by his loss of words and much more. Weinstein and Miller shared the emotions and grief that many families experience, while providing knowledge about dementia to attendees that might need to care for a loved one. More than 140 guests had the opportunity to ask Weinstein and Miller questions and learn from each other’s experiences.
“The talk was a brilliantly artful interweaving of science explaining the mysteries of the brain effected by Alzheimer’s combined with a poignant recounting of a daughter watching her father slowly losing himself,” said Sandhya Ravichandran, a Caltech Y board member.
Athena Castro, executive director of the Caltech Y, added, “The Caltech Y student leaders coordinate over 80 programs annually; some designed to heighten awareness of ethical, social, and political issues; some to serve the community; and some just to promote fun and relaxation and to provide balance to complement Caltech’s renowned academic curriculum. This webinar was a special program for the community to allow the Caltech family and members of the larger community to engage with experts on this devastating illness facing so many families.”
In reflection of the evening, Weinstein said, “It was an honor to share my work with [her father] Bruce to the Caltech Y audience. In telling the story of my father’s Alzheimer’s disease, we hope to help families understand the diagnosis and the emotions that often come with it. We also hope to chip away at the cruel stigma that accompanies afflicting 6.2 million people in the U.S. and 44 million in the world.”
For those who missed the Caltech Y Friends webinar, there will be another opportunity to hear from the authors. Weinstein and Miller will be featured in the “Behind the Book” virtual series hosted by Caltech Live on Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. Catherine Jurca, Caltech professor of English, will be moderating the discussion, followed by a question-and-answer sessions. Registration for the free event will can be found at events.caltech.edu/weinstein.
Weinstein and Miller’s book, “Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain,” will be published by John Hopkins University Press in September and will be available at Vroman’s and online at https://weinsteinandmiller.com.
For more information about Caltech Y, visit www.caltechy.org/who-we-are.