Skip to main content

B. Smith announced early onset Alzheimer's diagnosis

June 9, 2014

Being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease may cause a person to feel alone and misunderstood. Those feelings could be based on that individual's newfound difficulty communicating or hesitation about transitioning to memory care. However, dementia is more common than people know and it doesn't discriminate, as evidenced by recent diagnoses of a public figure.

AARP reported on a CBS News interview set to air June 15 when Barbara Smith, known to many as "B. Smith," will announce her early onset Alzheimer's diagnosis to the public. She has gained notoriety for her modeling career, culinary prowess and literary works, among other skills.

Smith, 64 years old, told CBS News that she first noticed problems with her memory about four years ago. Answering questions and recalling information became difficult for her. She went to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for brain scans where neurologists identified the development of Alzheimer's disease. Smith's scans showed evidence of the amyloid protein that collects in the brains of people with the degenerative brain disease.

Smith has won several awards for advocacy and leadership in the African-American community. She was one of the first African-American models on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine and the first African-American author of a book about entertaining, "B. Smith's Entertaining and Cooking for Friends." She also has a chain of B. Smith restaurants, a line of home goods in Bed, Bath and Beyond, and a daily radio show with her husband. Smith also acted in the off-broad production of "Love, Loss, and What I Wore." In 2012, she became part of the American Chef Corps as a member of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership started by the U.S. Department of State and the James Beard Foundation.

Though Smith's interview hasn't been released in full, she did acknowledge the announcement.

"The B. Smith recipe for getting through tough times--equal measure of faith, hope, courage and love. Season with style and elegance," Smith tweeted June 5.