Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease that impairs memory and other mental functions. It's most commonly seen as some form of dementia, not only causing memory loss but also the loss of the ability to do other cognitive functions. We still don't know what causes Alzheimer's, though age is a big and rather obvious risk factor. There is, as of yet, no cure.
More than 5 million people in the U.S. have the disease. It touches the lives of the millions of loved ones and caretakers for the people suffering some form of dementia, including these celebrities who either suffered from Alzheimer's or watched it diminish the memory and abilities of a member of their family.
More than any other celebrity, Maria Shriver has put her face, money, influence and time toward raising awareness, not only about the disease, but about it's impact globally, especially on women, and what research tells us can be done to lower our risk for developing it. Her organization, The Women's Alzheimer's Movement, her My Brain partnership with the Alzheimer's Association and the annual Move for Minds day with Equinox sports clubs all stem from her experience watching her father, Sargent Shriver, slowly forget who she was as his Alzheimer's disease progressed.