9.22.2009

Alzheimer's Crisis Reaches a Crest
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Image: the divine wind brings a tsunami to Japan

A new report from Alzheimer's Disease International reports that there are now 35.6 million cases of Alzheimer's and will be 115 million or more by the year 2050.

At this rate, the incidence of the disease will double every twenty years, and this probably underreports the crisis since cases are normally only diagnosed when the patient is in the last stages of what has been an invisible process, possibly commencing decades before it is noticed, along with conditions such as atherosclerosis.

Early detection through screening and other indicators (genetics) and notice of any subtle changes in cognition may act like a version of early radar in the 1940's, giving observers advance notice. Doubtless today's cumbersome process will morph into a sleeker, faster, and more efficient system that will help to save brains and prolong lives.

Undiagnosed Alzheimer's is often a cause of death, since it can lead to cessation of the pulse or breathing as the brain 'forgets' how to regulate these automatic routines, with the disease actually the unlabeled cause of death, rather than the overt symptom or outward manifestation. There is hope, however, in mental, physical, and social activity - in short, staying engaged and 'plugged-in' to the vibe of life and the amazing world around us.

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