Is it aging? Is it Alzheimer's?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    Tests will predict who is developing Alzheimer's and who will benefit most from treatment


    By Alice Dembner, Globe Staff *|* July 6, 2004


    Years before Alzheimer's ravages memory and robs its victim of the ability to dress or read, scientists believe there are tell-tale signs. Bit by bit, researchers are closing in on a range of tests -- including brain imaging and spinal taps -- designed to reveal those signs and predict who will develop the mind-crippling disease.

    ''We know that Alzheimer's is probably going on in the brain for decades before people develop symptoms," said Dr. Susan Molchan, an Alzheimer's specialist at the National Institute on Aging. ''Eventually, we hope to be able to tell individual patients . . . what their risk is with greater certainty."

    In September, the effort to develop new tests will get a major boost from the start of a five-year, $60 million project overseen by Molchan. The National Institute on Aging will provide about half the funds for the project -- designed to try out tests on hundreds of seniors -- with additional money from drug and diagnostic companies.

    Work on treatments is proceeding on a parallel track, and researchers hope that the tests, when perfected, will also help determine who will benefit most from preventive therapies. Currently, there is no cure for the disease and only a few medications that alleviate symptoms.

    http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2004/07/06/is_it_aging_is_it_alzheimers/
     
  2. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    That's the kind of thing "do you really want to know?" There's no known cure (yet... keep folding guys! :) ). My grandfather has it, so if it's something that I'm going to get, I'd rather take the blue pill.
     
  3. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    Cyanide? :eek:

    I think the only real cure is prevention and that is to keep people learning, to keep their neural pathways active. I've seen a few studies which have noted that people who were well-educated and who kept learning were more likely to fend off the symptoms.

    Unfortunately, my adoptive dad has no desire to use his mind at all, which accounts for where he's going. You can lead a sheep to water, but you can't make him think. :(
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    or: is that the kind of thing you want your insurance company to know?
     
  5. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

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    I agree, but that doesn't explain how someone like Ronald Reagon would come down with it. That man had to be a thinker, and on top of all that was going on. Can't believe that he just stopped learning after office...
     
  6. wdlove thread starter macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    Alzheimer's actually hits a lot of highly intelligent people. The first patient that I took care of with Alzheimer's was a Lawyer. Then there was Ronald Reagan. My mother had it also, she got straight A's in high school and was the valedictorian of her class.
     
  7. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

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    Do you believe continued learning can assist in prevention? I actually have a book that sells that theory. I tend to agree, but am skeptical.

    I started thinking about it recently after a drunkfest at the Indy 500. For a couple of days when I got back home I would say things while thinking something else, etc. I also realized that I did not pay enough attention to people when they spoke to me. I made a conscious effort to listen and remember - also to think more before I spoke. Things got better but I'm not sure if the alchohol just wore off or if I am actually improving my mind :eek:
     
  8. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    By the time Ronald Reagan was president, he was hardly much of a thinker. He was already starting to slip, even though it may have not been apparent to those who hadn't followed him as governor of California. Reciting speeches was probably not nearly as bit a learning experience as taking on an acting role.

    Most people seem to stop learning in their 30s and 40s. They have families and start to enjoy life more and enjoy work less. Have you noticed how curious children are but how adults generally aren't? It seems to me that fear and/or apathy tend to overwhelm curiosity at some point, which is the beginning of the end.
     
  9. Golem macrumors 6502

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    I am somewhat sceptical as well, My grandmother was bright,intelligent,she used to own and run her own Store , after she retired she designed clothing,knitted,gardened,attended various groups. Too see the downward slide over the 5-10 years before she died was something I will never forget and I hope I never go the same way.
     
  10. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    Matrix, silly. :D

    Yeah, I've heard that too. I dunno if I believe it tho. My grandfather was a naval engineer and later an electrical engineer for Hughes Aircraft. His library is pretty big (of course that doesn't prove he read all those books, but still...) In any case, keeping your mind active certainly can't hurt!
     
  11. bviz2 macrumors newbie

    bviz2

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    My mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The family had noticed some changes in her behavior. Retelling stories more than normal and an unusual level of forgetfulness. She is in her mid-eighties.

    My father talked to her doctor and he had a wide variety of tests run. The final diagnosis was that she is in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

    They have prescribed a medication an a regular mental and physical exercise regime. (She is playing bridge almost every day.) The change in her has been wonderful. Except when she is tired or under a lot of stress she is back to being my mom. From my limited understanding early detection, keeping the mind active, eating right, and staying in good shape are all key.

    Now it is time for me to start getting more exercise and watching my diet.
     
  12. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

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    As bousozoku points out, Regan wasn't so much a thinker as he was an actor and giver of speeches, whatever the elegiac outpouring of legacy-building praise heaped on him at his death may say. As I recall from living through his presidency, there were already rumors by his second term that he was showing signs of Alzheimer's and that his staff did most of the day-to-day work. Vigorously denied, of course.

    My mom is really paranoid about Alzheimer's.....she's sure she must have it every time she can't complete the daily Washington Post crossword in pen within fifteen minutes without having to look anything up. :rolleyes:
     

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