Tests May Soon Predict Alzheimer’s. Do You Want to Know?

Hell yeah!

What really caught my eye was the statement by a bioethicist that people should not know. Because, as Craig Klugman says in the article, “”Living in fear will change how a person lives their life.” So, that means what, I should stop getting a colonoscopy every five years?

But Mr Klugman is implying that people believe they are going to live forever, so telling them they are not would reduce them to jellyfish. Hello? I’m sorry, sir, but the sooner people like you help people get the most out of their lives, while they can, the better for everybody. And, I won’t mention the possibility that our BFF, Uncle Sam, decides for us if we should be tested or not…

Bioethics, indeed.

So, I’m 60+ years old; not quite into the danger zone, but I can see it from here. My father had early onset Alzheimer’s, his brother pretty much died from it. I have first hand knowledge of what it looks like, and I would very much like to know.

Not that I’m sure how much difference it would make for me: regardless of what is finally going to get me – whether it is a drunk-driver on the interstate, or something that chips away for years – I should be exercising more and eating better now. I forget who, but I have always loved the statement: “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” (I’ve seen the quote attributed to both Mae West and Mickey Mantle.)

I think, if I knew I was going to slowly lose my mind (or, lose it instantly, but not for awhile), I would write more (thus this post) and probably record my voice reading some of the stuff my Dad read to us kids (James Whitcomb Riley being a favorite). Not to try to relive my Dad; but because my wife is pregnant with twins; I’d like them to be able to hear my voice. I’ve forgotten both my Dad’s and my older brother’s.

The article does point out that trying to reverse Alzheimer’s is probably not going to work; I think there are lots of ways of dying that are like that. Which means that prevention is key. Right now, we don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s, so we haven’t a clue how to prevent it. I’m all for testing now; yes, on me, too. Take some blood, establish a baseline, see what happens. Unfortunately, all we can do now is try to “test in the present to make a diagnosis on the future.” Let’s get on with it, I say.

Not buyin’ it, eh? How about the survivors? Ever think about them? The article shares a story of the family of a woman who was affected by Alzheimer’s before anyone realized it. The family suffered financially; although I think the emotional toll was much higher. I know I wish I had had more conversations with my Dad before he was no longer able to recognize who I was. If I could do something that might benefit my siblings (all younger than me), I’d sign on the dotted line.

I’ll go with Alireza Atri who says that people can “take charge, prioritize, and prepare for things earlier when lifestyle changes are more likely to produce a benefit.” Amen.


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