Eighteen Villa Maria Academy students participated in the Annenberg High School Science Symposium at Paoli Hospital on April 10, 2019. The students presented their project “Forget Me Not: An Inside Look at Alzheimer’s Disease,” examining the most current investigations into the cause of Alzherimer’s disease; the best diagnostic methods; effective treatment options; and, preventive measures and the impact on families. Students were awarded the designation “Most Relevant” for their work.
Villa Maria’s team included Rayne Bunado, Rachel Chen, Kieva Conway, Liz D’Ascenzo, Izzi DeSimone, Mary-Grace Drummey, Erin Flynn, Allie Hausker, Caroline Hernandez, Olivia Karkenny, Kelly Lain, Hannah Miller, Caroline Pelletier, Maggie Powers, Ashley Reilly, Murphy Sweeney, Julia Ungvary, and Hannah Young, accompanied by Dr. Jennifer Horan.
The symposium promotes discourse among high school science students in the the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Started in 2005, each hospital in the Main Line Health system hosts an annual event to promote science and medicine to local high schools.
During the school year, Villa Maria science teacher Amy Keglovits advised students on their project. Alzheimer’s disease robs people of their identity and leaves them feeling desperate. There are currently 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, with a projected 14 million people affected by the year 2050. Alzherimer’s disease is characterized by degeneration of brain cells that can be seen using a variety of brain imaging methods. This degeneration manifests clinically as a progressive decline in cognitive function, accompanied by behavior and personality changes. The impact of this decline leaves individuals, families and society with the burden of high monetary and emotional costs.