Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease has become a popular phrase in mainstream media over the last few years. Breakthroughs in the science of Alzheimer’s Disease are happening more often and they lend hope to ending the suffering and finding a cure.
Recently, Komo 4 News ran a segment regarding research being conducted by the University of Washington: Prevention by intervention key to Alzheimer’s. They are working on developing a ten-minute test to detect Alzheimer’s Disease before symptoms appear. http://komonews.com/news/local/alzheimers
Would advance detection have helped those that currently suffer from dementia? No, not really.
Currently, medications used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia only address the symptoms, and even early detection does not present a cure. UW Researchers admit that even if the test were to detect the disease early, the detection would only allow for further study of the disease progression, symptom management, and then after even more studies – they may discover a cure.
That is why I believe preventing Alzheimer’s Disease is a myth. Did you know that Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States? Yep. And for every three seniors that die today, one has suffered a form of dementia.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no cure, only prevention by intervention.
What is intervention? In a nutshell, intervention is to consistently make healthy lifestyle choices, exercise regularly, and stay active in body, mind, and soul. Simple enough, right?
There’s a catch.
Of all the known causes of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, there is one that we can’t do anything about; normal aging. So ‘prevention by intervention’ is just a fancy way of saying you can “reduce your risk”. The disease is unforgiving and indiscriminate, and without a cure only the symptoms can be managed.
While the focus seems to be on discovering a cure, what about the here and now? What about those that are suffering from the disease today? That’s where my focus is. I enjoy educating people about dementia; what it is, what to expect, how to communicate, and most importantly, how to continue to enjoy the time you spend with someone affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
I’ll write more about the latter topic soon. In the meantime, check out the Momentia Movement that is gaining traction here in the great Pacific Northwest!
by Cyndi Gibson