Mark Stevens

Mark Stevens

venture capitalist Based in Menlo Park, California, Mark Stevens is a venture capitalist with three decades of experience investing in the technology industry. Currently, he serves as managing partner of S-Cubed Capital and as a special limited partner of Sequoia Capital. He currently  sits on the boards of directors of Second Spectrum, Nvidia, and Innovium.… Continue Reading

Author Archives: Mark Stevens

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease and Is There a Cure?

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects thinking, impacting memory and behavior. In this article, we look at Alzheimer’s and its characteristic signs and symptoms.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

In Americans aged 65 and over, Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth leading cause of death, as well as a leading cause of poor health and disability.

Through improvements in medicine and technology, healthcare providers have achieved significant gains in recent decades in the treatment of many debilitating and life-threatening conditions. Yet Alzheimer’s disease remains on the increase. Between 2000 and 2018, deaths from Alzheimer’s more than doubled, increasing by 146%. By comparison, during that timeframe, deaths from heart disease, the leading cause of death, fell by 7.8%.

About 60% of 70-year-old Alzheimer’s patients are predicted to die before reaching the age of 80, compared with only 30% of people without the disease. People over 65 live an average of 4 to 8 years after receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, yet some may live as long as 20 years. Progression can be slow and unpredictable.

This fact underscores that Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition—it causes symptoms of dementia that worsen over time. In its early stages, Alzheimer’s causes mild memory loss. In its later stages, the disease can be debilitating, impairing the patient’s ability to respond to their environment or to carry on conversations.

Who discovered Alzheimer’s?

The condition was described for the first time in the early 20th century by Alois Alzheimer, a German physician who linked microscopic brain changes to profound memory loss and worsening psychological changes in one of his patients. Following the patient’s death, Dr. Alzheimer performed an autopsy, observing dramatic shrinkage of the brain, combined with abnormal deposits. First describing what he termed “a peculiar disease” in 1906, Dr. Alois Alzheimer is regarded as a pioneer by scientists today for his groundbreaking work, his close clinical relationship with his patient, and his use of new scientific tools to understand how physiological brain changes produced symptoms.

What are the main symptoms?

The Alzheimer’s Association identifies 10 key symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Memory loss. We all suffer occasional memory lapses, but in Alzheimer’s disease, forgetfulness disrupts daily life. Patients may struggle to retain recently learned information or stumble over important events or dates, repeating the same questions and increasingly relying on family members or memory aids.
  • Problem solving and planning difficulties. People affected by dementia may experience a diminished ability to formulate and follow plans. Their ability to work with numbers may be impacted, to the extent where they struggle to follow a familiar recipe or keep track of monthly bills.
  • Difficulties in completing routine tasks. People with Alzheimer’s may experience lapses in concentration that impact their ability to complete daily tasks. They may struggle to compile a grocery list or drive to familiar places.
  • Confusion with places and times. People living with dementia often lose track of the passage of time or struggle to remember dates. They may become disorientated, forgetting where they are or struggling to remember how they got there. Affected individuals often struggle to understand something when it does not happen immediately.
  • Impaired spatial awareness. For some people with Alzheimer’s, the disease can cause visual problems, leading to balance issues or reading difficulties. They may struggle to judge color or contrast. This can make it difficult to assess distances and therefore impact their ability to drive safely.
  • Speech and writing difficulties. People with Alzheimer’s often struggle with conversations. They may suddenly stop, repeat themselves, mix up names, or find themselves unable to find the right words.
  • Losing things. We all occasionally misplace things, but Alzheimer’s is more than that. The disease affects a person’s ability to retrace their steps to find an item, or causes individuals to put items in unusual places. Someone affected by the disease may become suspicious of others and accuse them of stealing lost belongings, particularly in the later stages of the condition.
  • Poor judgement. Alzheimer’s can affect decision-making, impairing a person’s ability to work with money or keep themselves clean.
  • Withdrawal from social activities. Since Alzheimer’s affects a person’s ability to hold a conversation, this can cause them to retreat from friends and family.
  1. Changes in personality and mood. People with the condition may become easily upset, particularly when forced outside of their comfort zone. They may become anxious, confused, suspicious, fearful, or depressed.

How far are we from finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease?

There is currently no single effective treatment or identified cure for the condition. Nevertheless, some drug and non-drug treatment options can alleviate individual symptoms. For example, the FDA has approved cholinesterase inhibitors (including donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine) and memantine to treat memory loss and confusion associated with Alzheimer’s. These drugs cannot stop or repair the damage to brain cells that Alzheimer’s causes, but they can slow down the progression of symptoms for a limited time.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s mission is to eradicate Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by increasing early detection, reducing risks associated with the disease, and accelerating global research. Until we find a cure, the Alzheimer’s Association is committed to assisting people affected by Alzheimer’s and their families, providing vital care and support.

LifeMoves: Working to Help Silicon Valley’s Homeless Community

With the homeless community particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, LifeMoves is doing important work in Silicon Valley. Continue Reading

10 Things You Need to Know about CollegeSpring

This article explores the history and impact of CollegeSpring, an organization that has helped over 30,000 students achieve academic success. Continue Reading

The Facts You Need to Know about Alzheimer’s Disease

From the disease’s discovery to its seven stages, we take an in-depth look at Alzheimer’s disease. Continue Reading

A Look at CAF’s Response to the Pandemic

In this article, we look at the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s response to the global outbreak of Covid-19. Continue Reading

Spotlight on the WVCS Covid-19 Relief Program

We investigate how West Valley Community Services (WVCS) is supporting families throughout the West Valley throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Continue Reading

5 Silicon Valley Nonprofits You Need to Know About

Benefiting causes including everything from homelessness to college preparedness, these five organizations support communities in Silicon Valley. Continue Reading

Parents Helping Parents: A Vital Resource for Parents of Children with Special Needs

We look at the work of Parents Helping Parents, exploring how this Bay Area non-profit supports parents of children with special needs. Continue Reading

7 of the Best American Charities Serving People Facing Homelessness

From Covenant House to LifeMoves, we look at seven American charities that help people facing homelessness. Continue Reading

CollegeSpring: Democratizing College Test Prep for Low-Income Students

We look at the work of CollegeSpring, an American organization that helps young people prepare for exams, paving the way for a college education. Continue Reading

7 Bay Area Nonprofits & Charities You Need to Know About

In this article, we look at seven charities and nonprofits in the Bay Area, from educational organizations, to food banks, to parent support groups. Continue Reading

West Valley Community Services: Halting Hunger in Santa Clara County

West Valley Community Services (WVCS) serves the communities of Saratoga, West San Jose, Cupertino, Monte Sereno, and Los Gatos in California’s Santa Clara County. Continue Reading

5 American Charities Working to End Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder that impairs memory and cognitive function. Over time, it affects a person’s ability to complete the simplest tasks. Continue Reading

Everything You Need to Know About the Team Up! Campaign

The Team Up! campaign encourages US Olympic Committee employees to get involved and give back to Team USA. In this article, we look at the work undertaken under the Team Up! campaign, and how the US Olympic and Paralympic Foundation goes above and beyond to support athletes across the USA. Continue Reading

Parents Helping Parents Supports People With Disabilities Amid the Pandemic

A 501(c)3 organization based San Jose, California, Parents Helping Parents aims to provide vital services to enable families and communities to help adults and youth with special needs to build a better and brighter future. Continue Reading

Everything You Need to Know About St. Denis Parish Church

In this article we look at the history of St. Denis Catholic Church, exploring the vital contributions made through its outreach programs, which support individuals facing difficulties and the entire community of Menlo Park. Continue Reading

What is the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020?

The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 was just passed into law. Here’s how it will improve support for people with Alzheimer’s. Continue Reading

Amador Valley Investment Club Host Q&A With Mark Stevens on Venture Capital and Covid-19

Mark spoke to students from the Amador Valley Investment Club as well as other high schools virtually on May 27th, 2020. Continue Reading

Spotlight on the YMCA Covid-19 Childcare Program

In this article, we look at the YMCA Silicon Valley’s Covid-19 Childcare Program, which provides childcare for essential and frontline workers. Continue Reading

Mark Stevens Spoke to Graduates During the University of Southern California’s 2020 Student Athlete Graduation

Mr. Stevens recognized this year’s record-breaking number of Stevens Scholars, who have demonstrated athletic and academic excellence by graduating with a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher. Continue Reading

Spotlight on the Penninsula Arts Guild Non-Profit

We look at the Peninsula Arts Guild and its work converting Menlo Park’s Guild Theatre into a top-tier live music and entertainment venue. Continue Reading

Spotlight on Second Harvest of the Valley

A nonprofit organization, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley aims to eradicate food poverty. Learn about the food bank’s role in the community. Continue Reading

Learn about the San Francisco Symphony, including its history, educational programs, and internationally renowned Youth Orchestra.

Learn about the San Francisco Symphony, including its history, educational programs, and internationally renowned Youth Orchestra. Continue Reading

Everything You Should Know About Parents Helping Parents

Learn about the work of Parents Helping Parents, a California-based nonprofit that supports the parents of children with special needs. Continue Reading

9 Things You need to Know About YMCA Silicon Valley

Since 1867, the YMCA has been listening and responding to the needs of people living in San Jose and the South Bay Area. We look at the organization’s vital work, helping young people reach their true potential and improving health and wellbeing within the local community. Continue Reading

8 of the Facts You Need to Know About Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School

Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School is a Jesuit Catholic school located in Santa Clara Street, San José, California. Here’s how the school empowers students from underserved communities, spiritually preparing them to become accomplished leaders committed to the lifelong pursuit of learning, justice, and faith. Continue Reading

Spotlight on the Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation’s moto is “Empowering Lives Through Sport.” We look at the organization’s activities, which inspire people with physical challenges in America and around the world to get active and participate in sports. Continue Reading

This Is What You Need to Know About the Team Behind the Team VIP Weekend 2019

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Foundation was founded in 2013. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is Team USA’s chief source of philanthropic support. It generates important financial resources that enable Team USA athletes to attain their full potential, both within and outside of their chosen sports. Continue Reading

Mark and Mary Stevens – The Giving Pledge

“We are proud to join Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and the others who have committed to the Giving Pledge. My wife, Mary, and I feel very fortunate and blessed that we find ourselves, at a relatively young age, to be able to give our time, treasure and talent to a variety of philanthropic… Continue Reading

Mark and Mary Stevens Champion Philanthropy at USC and Beyond

Their generosity has endowed several programs and centers important to USC’s future. MARK STEVENS ’81, MS ’84 and his wife, Mary, are committed to the Giving Pledge, a promise among the world’s wealthiest people to commit more than half of their fortune to charitable causes that leave the world a better place. “There are three things you… Continue Reading