How Could You be so Heartless?

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One American develops Alzheimer's disease every seventy-two seconds. (p. 268) Alzheimer's disease's signature is its detrimental memory and language loss. This is caused by a build up of plaque and tangles in the brain, which causes the deterioration of synapses in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, as well as the loss of a key neurotransmitter in the brain, acetylcholine, which has key roles in memory retention. (p. 268) I personally have had a great grandmother who was affected by this disease and watching the destruction it had on her memory was devastating. It began with a mild sense of forgetfulness in the beginning, but by the time of her death she could not even remember my name, her only grandchild. Through my own experience with my grandmother I agree with the clip below in its portrayal of the disease having as detrimental an effect on a person's family as the person themselves. According to the Alzheimer's Association, this disease cannot truly be prevented, due to it being expressed through genetics and brought about by aging, but can be slowed by the adoption of healthy habits for your brain. Eating well, and staying physically, mentally, and socially active are just some brain healthy tricks which may seem mundane, but in the end could make all the difference in the halting of this heartless disease and preserving your memories for years to come.

5 Comments

I have personally not met and do not have anyone in my family with this disease. Even though I have no experienced it at all, I know some people who have and it is just so sad to watch them have to go through seeing their friend/family be so affected. It hurts when someone close to you doesn't even remember who you are, like you and your grandmother, which I am very sorry for. I think all people who are older and elderly should definitely exercise regularly, eat healthy, and be at least somewhat socially active. These aspects of life seem to help A LOT of diseases stay away or even keep it from progressing. My grandmother is almost 80, and she goes hiking, fast walks, eats healthy, has many friends, does water aerobics, etc.; she is the most active older woman I will probably ever know. I hope that she never comes to a heartless disease.

Actually, I have never seen how peopel became when they suffer from Alzheimer's disease. However, I think that this video show me how people become and it is like. I heard that we can prevent Alzheimer's somewhat. However, I also read an article about even young people like 20s can suffer from Alzheimer's disease. I think your essay is not that scientific but still has some scientific information and your own experiences. Your essay has somewhat depth and interesting story. Moreover, I think your video is very effective in order to convey what you want to say.

i have also had someone in my family with Alzheimer's. It really is a horrible thing to have someone you care about not know who you are. After watching your video, it’s a scary thing to see the numbers climb in 20 years or so. Knowing that it is genetic, I know that I am at risk. But it’s good to know that they are working on beneficial way to prevent and slow it down and maybe cure it one day.

For one of my classes I actually had to interview a patient with dementia which is a symptom of Alzheimer's, but does not progress in the same way. What was interesting in his response to the disease was that he was motivated to stay well. He diligently took his medication, stayed active with his wife, cared for his farm, and loved to socialize. Every time I asked how it effected his day-to-day life, he simply said that he found a way to deal with it. To deal with the memory loss, the only symptom of dementia but a small facet of Alzheimer's, he carried around a memory book with appointments, to-do lists, and a "things I want to remember" column. It was just so touching to see how some people overcome their setbacks.

This is a really interesting video, and a really cool blog post. Having never met someone with Alzheimer's disease, it can get a little difficult at times to relate to those who are dealing with the disease. One thing I found really interesting is that now, the medical world is dealing with disease caused by genetic issues. It says a lot about our recent medical advancements that we are handling such complicated issues, rather than working toward cures for bacterial infections, etc (for the most part).
I found an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported through the Alzheimer's Association, that seems to report that one specific type of medication, donepezil, has been successful with Alzheimer's patients. This is an exciting article, however, I also wonder how many of these patients will be able to pay for new treatments such as this. The association also reported that "Medicare payments for an older person with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are nearly three times higher while Medicaid payments are 19 times higher than for seniors without Alzheimer’s..."
I wonder what this means for the future of Alzheimer's.... unfortunately, there are a lot more forces at work in a situation like this, besides disease treatment.

Here's a link, in case you want to learn more:
http://www.alzheimersblog.org/category/dr-edgerly/?gclid=COrNrpmX-K4CFYoDQAodHyhczw

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This page contains a single entry by rayer004 published on March 5, 2012 7:15 PM.

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