AZ: We Have So Much To Learn

Last week, in Paris, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, many new insights and study results were presented.  I talked about one such study in a posting last week.  The number of people affected with the disease is now placed at 36,000,000.  Obviously, the number of people affected by the disease is much higher.

One study discussed at the conference was a “telephone survey of 2,678 adults aged 18 and older in the United States, France, Germany, Spain and Poland was conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Alzheimer Europe…”

Some of the statistics coming out of the study are amazing – and frightening:

When asked to identify the most feared disease out of a list of seven that included cancer, heart disease and stroke, nearly a quarter of respondents from four of the five countries said they most fear getting Alzheimer’s.

Many in the survey said they know or have known someone with Alzheimer’s, including 72 percent of those in France, 73 percent in Germany, 77 percent in Spain, 73 percent in the United States and 54 percent in Poland.

And about three out of 10 people in the study said they have a family member who has had the disease.
The most frightening set of statistics from this study and from others I have seen, however, is how little we know about the disease, personally.  I am not talking about what the professionals in the field understand, but what the general population knows.
40% of the respondents were not aware that Alzheimer’s Disease is fatal.  It absolutely is.  There is no cure and if we have it, it will kill us.  Additionally, many folks think there are actually medications that, if they do not cure Alzheimer’s, will slow down the progress of the disease.  Very sadly, there are not such medications.  Some medications can mask some symptoms, for a time, but not slow the disease.
The bottom line is that we need to support more, on-going research on the disease, and we need to do our own personal research into the realities of Alzheimer’s.  For myself, I would want to know, as early as possible, if I contract the disease.  Not because I would expect a cure, but to enable making early, good choices.
Best wishes, Bert

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