Since November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Family Caregivers Month, I thought I would take the opportunity to thank the more than fifteen million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in the United States for their hard work. You are to be admired, and applauded.
More than forty million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease. Included in that number is my father, and perhaps your own parent, grandparent, spouse, or best friend. Because I often feel helpless when I visit my father in the nursing home as I listen to him stutter my name, and watch his hand shake as he tries to lift a scoopful of ice cream to his mouth or turn the page of the newspaper, I must reach out to you. I reach out with the ice-cold truth about this insidious disease that pisses me the fuck off, and makes me want to punch the protein out of its plaques and tangles. (I’m not a violent person at all, really. But watching a loved one slowly fade into the dark more than sucks.)
Now that I’ve purged from my gut how I really feel, I’d like to share with you what Dr. Samuel Cohen, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Misfolding Diseases in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, has to say in a video about Alzheimer’s:
By 2050, Alzheimer’s will affect one hundred fifty million people.
If you plan to live into your golden years, your chance of developing Alzheimer’s will approach one in two.
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the United States, costing two hundred billion dollars each year.
Out of the top ten causes of death worldwide, Alzheimer’s is the only one that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed down.
The US government spends ten times more on cancer research than on Alzheimer’s.
People with Alzheimer’s can’t always speak out for themselves.
Alzheimer’s is always fatal.
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of the aging process.
If you have a brain, you are at risk for Alzheimer’s.
We now know that the plaques and tangles clogging the Alzheimer’s brain consist of protein molecules.
We can cure Alzheimer’s.
To hear Dr. Cohen’s TED Talk about Alzheimer’s and the new class of drugs being tested to stop the disease, please click here.