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Alzheimer's Disease

I was watching the great PBS special on Alzheimer’s entitled “The Forgetting” today. Although it shows a lot of tough stories and reminds me of the struggles I see clients and their families face, the information on research made me hopeful. Particularly, the advances in imaging are going to make a big difference in advancing the progress of new treatments. It is amazing to think how far imaging has come in general and to be able to see inside some of the innermost parts of the brain which our body so well protects, is remarkable science.

In the meantime, I try to exercise and stay heart healthy which seems to have some protective effects. I think keeping the brain active and social connections are good whether the protective effects are as strong as speculated or not. I’m not always as good as eating my fruits and vegetables as I should be, but generally eat a pretty “Mediterranean diet” and wouldn’t mind eating more delicious Indian food with curry/curcumin in it (there are hints this may help). I’m fortunate to have a good family history of longevity with very little disease at all, and strong mental acuity in to old age– but that’s something that we all don’t have much control over.

Some of my best pearls of wisdom from my work experience would be not to ignore signs and symptoms in your loved one (or self) and to seek a good diagnostic work up. There’s always a tendency to want to bury our heads in the sand, and this is a disease that creates a lot of fear…but being prepared can only help. The medicines can do some good and maybe especially so in Mild Cognitive Impairment or early stages. And, there are a # of things that mimic the symptoms that may be reversible. Though that probably isn’t the common result of diagnosis, when it is surely it is a huge relief.

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