Friday, June 20, 2014

Two Interesting Posts on Dementia

Last week I ran across a couple of interesting articles on the broad topic of dementia and thought they'd make an informative OLS post.  The first is an optimistic take on whether humans can figure out a cure for Alzheimer's; here's an excerpt from the British news outlet, The Telegraph:
But Prof Dobson said he was confident that it could be tackled.  “Should we despair? Far from it,” he said in an article written for the Telegraph. 
...
"With our determination to tackle these 21st century plagues we are optimistic that we will come up with significant breakthroughs just as the pioneers of earlier times found ways to confront the plagues of the past,” said Prof Dobson.
The second article argues that Alzheimer's is not actually a normal, almost inevitable aspect of aging, and suggests we do harm by conceptualizing it as such.  From the introduction of this very interesting article at Atlantic:
A multinational survey released today found that 59 percent of people incorrectly believe that Alzheimer’s disease is a typical part of aging.  "People misunderstand that Alzheimer's really is a disease," Angela Geiger of the Alzheimer's Association, which led the survey, told me. "It's fatal. And it's going to be affecting more and more people, whether or not it runs in their family."

Aging increases a person's odds of getting Alzheimer's disease, and researchers are still learning how age disposes neurons to the disease process, but it's clearly distinct from normal aging.