A Heart So Pure


When I watched global health and development expert Alanna Shaikh‘s TED Talk I was very moved.  Alana spoke about her very real fear of getting Alziehmer’s, as she watched her father deteriorate from this illness.  So Alanna, while taking preventive measures,   has decided that she will prepare herself for it  by changing what she does for fun, improving her physical strength and trying to become a better person.

This particular line in her talk struck me deeply:

“I need a heart so pure that if it’s stripped bare by dementia, it will survive.” — Alanna Shaikh


Thankfully, Alziehmer’s doesn’t run in my family. But living long does. So I too would like to focus on improving the quality of my life, so that I can live a fruitful life. But most importantly, I too want a heart so pure that it will survive anything!

What about you?

Alanna’s bio on TED : TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh is a global health and development specialist with a vendetta against jargon. On her blog, Blood and Milk, she aims to make global development issues both accessible and understandable. In her TED Book, What’s Killing Us, she explains the biggest challenges in global wellness — from HIV/AIDS to the diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics – in a way that anyone can understand. Earlier this year, she co-founded AidSource, a social network for aid workers. She is also the co-founder of the group SMART Aid, which educates donors and start-up projects about international aid.

Alanna Shaikh is especially interested in Alzheimer’s, as she has watched her father deteriorate from the disease over the past 12 years. But she says the experience has not sent her into denial—she plans to be prepared for the genetically transmitted disease, should it ever arrive.

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18 thoughts on “A Heart So Pure

  1. I once took care of a patient with Alzheimer’s… it’s not so easy 😉

    Sometimes, I’d think what if I lose ‘my’ head… would I still be loveable and what words would be coming out of my mouth?

  2. Alzheimers is a devastating disease that can totally change someone’s personality. Not only does someone not know the other important people in their life but in many ways they don’t know themselves either. It can involve paranoia, anxiety, confusion etc. My mother suffered from it and the person she became was nothing like the person she was before the disease. I can certainly relate to Alanna’s fear. I think about it often myself.

  3. I love the punch line. It was the same with my mom. She was so loving, it was evident by the number of people who came to visit her in the hospital. And, that’s also the reason I exercise and try to be as active a possible….buying my time, cos’ genes sucks when it comes to inheriting diseases.

  4. My father is suffering with Alzheimer’s – his mother had it as do both of his siblings. I’m praying that I got my mother’s genes in that department . . . But, whatever happens in the future, I, too, would wish for a pure heart . . . “Create in my a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”
    Blessings, Corinne!

  5. My husband and I lived with and took care of his grandmother until she passed from this dreadful disease, along with Parkinson’s. My heart went out to my husband the day she asked him who he was. It’s an awful disease…I pray someday they find a cure. And I definitely think it’s great to try to take as many preventative measures as possible, especially if it runs in one’s family. Like eating right, abstaining from alcohol..also, keeping the mind active via meditation and memorization of passages.

    You might find this study interesting, if you aren’t aware of it already. 🙂


    Great post. 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing, Jessica. I think the time our loved ones forget who we are must the hardest. Thank you for sharing other activities to keep one’s mind active. Thanks for sharing the link too, Jessica. I hadn’t seen it before.

      1. No,he is not a Dr.After his retirement,he was lost.While he was on a holiday ,he came across a patient whose condition really touched him.That was the begining and he continues to spend some time with such patients at a clinic in Gurgaon.

  6. I have a teacher of mine who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and it is really heartening to see her go through this!

    I don’t know if it is genetic and all – but I know one thing the fear of such things should not deter us from trying to live our life to the fullest and in the most healthiest way we can for physical dependency is something none of us deal with however strong we are!

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