#2 evanesce

A disease that affects everyone. A disease that’s underneath our nose, and we can smell it. We can run, but we can’t hide from it.

I listened to several podcast by Wisconsin’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center. They hosted Sterling Johnson, Samantha Allison, Dr. James Lah, and Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi. The episodes were between 12-20 minutes long, talking about scans and tests, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, possible changes, and diagnosis. Alzheimer’s is a disease that we don’t have a cure too, we understand parts, we can see the symptoms, but we don’t know how to stop it.

It’s estimated that over 5.5 million people over the age of 65 are affected by Alzheimer’s. A brain affected by the disease has fewer neurons, which causes the weight of a brain to decrease, with less neurons the function of a brain decreases. Scans showed that changes could be seen in the brain, but the patient would not be showing symptoms, changes inside the brain could be seen up to a decade before being diagnosed. Doctors are looking at biomarkers (a test of a disease, measurable and related), levels of proteins, disease origins, and spinal fluid are important biomarkers in this case. There could be a possible link between blood flow and the brain’s ability to clear amyloid plaques, one of the causes of neurons dying. Doctors rely on PET, and FDG-PET scans to help see the amyloid plaques and help lead to a diagnosis of the disease.

The choices you make when your 30-50 years old can help decide what happens, maintaining healthy lifestyle habits help, but it really comes down to is  your families history. The risk increases for someone who suffers from cardiovascular, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and whose family has had a history of the disease. Doctors are starting to study people at a young age due to unsuccessful clinical trials focused on patients already diagnosed. To gain more data doctors have created online surveys and tasks for people to record their own data on, and submit each month, a task could be completing a puzzle every month, people don’t even have to step foot into the hospitals. Researchers are seeing that in many places people are willing to donate their time and participate in the trials and research.

Dementia, a general term for memory and cognitive ability loss, is one of the main reasons for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of filed Dementia cases. When a person is hospitalized or placed into home care, an occurring problem is the loss of comfort. Staff try and trailer a room to the specific person and their needs, family members are usually asked to bring familiar and significant items to help regain a person conscience from when they are in their different realities. When a person loses their ability to verbally communicate with people, it becomes a struggle to assess discomfort, and pain, Tylenol is sometimes given to patients regularly to help reduces pain and discomfort, entirely avoiding the problem of not being able to verbally communicate.

Dr. James Lah said,”The cure isn’t always a one size fits all.” The idea of a cure that could just erases or turn around the symptoms, and regain the lost cognitive abilities is a long way from being discovered. We need to figure out it progresses and the aggression of the disease. We are looking for a way to see this disease before it evens begins, we are looking for a way to predict it.

Vermont has one the highest percentages of people over the age of 65 living in the state, 18. 7%, whereas it is more commonly to see a state with 15.2% of its population over the age of 65. 626,042 people live in Vermont, meaning 117,070 people are over the age of 65 in Vermont. How will this affect us in the near future? Wake Robin Life Care Retire, recently extended their housing abilities by creating more housing structures. It can only go to say that there must be a demand for more housing for the aging population in Vermont, they are expecting to see the need for home care and progression of extensive care.

Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

Sasha Miler

4 Responses to “#2 evanesce

  • Sasha,

    I love the symbolism in both the title and image you chose for this post. They are both really thoughtful choices.

    I am also impressed by the depth of your knowledge on this topic. You’ve clearly done a lot of research about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The facts about Vermont that you include near the end of your post are particularly interesting to me. I’m curious about a couple things. First, what sparked your interest in this topic? Second, do you see the fact that Vermont has a large elderly population as a problem or an opportunity? Are aging people going to cost families and taxpayers money, or will they create job opportunities for those interested in helping folks age on their own terms? Finally, what actions can people, who are not medical professionals and do not have millions of dollars to donate towards medical research, take to make an impact on this issue?

    Erik

  • I found this really interesting, especially because before reading your post, I knew little to nothing about Alzheimer’s. You’ve clearly done a lot of research on it, and your post was compelling and made me wonder, what can we do about it?

  • Hi Sasha,
    What an amazing piece of work. Sorry about the late response, I’ll try to be more on time for you’re 4th post.
    The time and research that you’ve put into this issue was clear in your well written post above. I had no idea that Vermont has the largest population of elderly citizens in the country. I wonder why that is?
    I am just wondering where do you want to take the issue of Alzheimer’s is a very vast one. I think focusing on either the scientific issues, the economical, or the more personal conflicts of slowly loosing your mind would all be very fascinating.

    Can’t wait to read more,
    Elsa

  • Well researched and put together. Clear writing. The questions are these: what is the change you seek to achieve? What can be changed?

    geoff

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