Carly Belloff: Memory and Aging


Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My infographic: Issues on Memory and Aging


Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).






Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)

With the aging of the population, providing care to someone with dementia is becoming inevitable and a normative life experience across all 50 US states. Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Diseases, and as many as 16 million Americans are predicted to have the disease in 2050. Additionally, the cost of caring for those affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia was estimated to total $236 billion in 2016 and this number is predicted to increase to $1.1 trillion by mid-century. However, this memory loss problem has specifically impacted the state of Michigan. Not only is the financial burden of dementia in Michigan about $5 billion per year, but dementia is also the 6th leading cause of death in Michigan. For example, in Michigan specifically, the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease in 2013 was 3,220 and there was a 96% increase in Alzheimer’s deaths since 2000. Similarly, in 2017, it was found that 180,000 Americans living in Michigan who are age 65 and older were diagnosed with Dementia and this number is estimated to increase to 220,000 by 2025 (a 22.2% increase). Therefore, compared to other states, Michigan is the 8th state that is most affected by this disease behind CA, FL, IL, NY, OH, PA, and TX. With that being said, considering its profound impact on caregivers, dementia thus affects at least 400,000 people in the state of Michigan.

With the abundant amount of people affected by this disease in Michigan, it is of crucial importance to resolve this issue and help prevent students from being a part of this disturbing number of individuals who experience memory loss. Although it was originally believed that little could be done to help people diagnosed with dementia beyond providing a safe environment and comfort care, there are now effective ways to improve and maintain memory starting at an early age. For example, there is much research that links Alzheimer’s disease with diet, exercise, emotional support, brain exercises, etc., and if students implement these habits within their daily routines early on, they will be more likely to maintain a healthy brain throughout their lives. I look forward to conducting more research regarding the requirements of Michigan school health classes, as I believe a possible solution to this issue is to increase the awareness of the preventative measures that can reduce memory loss at an early age.


Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.


It is essential that students are taught about the preventative measures that can reduce memory loss at an early age before it becomes too late. After reading Michigan’s Health Education Content Standards and Expectations for grades K-8 created by the Michigan Department of Education, it is clear that effective health education helps students increase their health knowledge and improve their health skills and behaviors. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes the importance of focusing on behaviors that have the greatest effect on health, such as those related to nutrition; physical activity; violence and injury; alcohol and other drug use; and tobacco use, I believe that it is important that students are aware of how to maintain their healthy brains in order to avoid the possible cognitive decline that can occur with age. For example, in grade one, Michigan students are being taught how physical activity, rest, and sleep help a person stay healthy, but I believe it is important to illustrate how these behaviors help maintain a healthy brain as well. I also believe it is important to teach students additional strategies that can help enhance their memory throughout their health education.


Similar to how individuals obtain a discount on their automobile insurance by taking driver safety courses because these courses not only save lives, but also reduce the number of claims that the insurance company will receive, I believe this same policy should occur with memory courses. It is the insurance companies that pay for medical bills, nursing homes, and any other additional medical requirements for those diagnosed with Dementia, so I propose that Michigan insurance companies should provide medical insurance discounts to those who take a memory improvement course. This type of online course will not only save lives, as it will help people keep their minds healthy, but it will also reduce the amount of medical insurance claims that can occur later on in life.


It has been found that Benzodiazepine use is linked to Dementia and for this reason I propose that drugs such as Valium and Xanax should be taken off the market in Michigan. Although people who had taken a benzodiazepine for three months or less had about the same dementia risk as those who had never taken one, according to a research study published by Harvard Medical School, taking the drug for three to six months raised the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 32%, and taking it for more than six months boosted the risk by 84%. Additionally, another study that collected data over 22 years, investigated the long-term effects of benzodiazepine use and dementia risk and found that of the 1,134 men, 103 (9.1%) showed a noticeable increased incidence of dementia. Therefore, the elimination of these types of drugs can lead Michigan one step closer in reducing the amount of people who are affected by Dementia.

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.


Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.


Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?



The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.




(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).





(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?




Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  



These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.


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