If Alzheimer's lay ahead,would you want to know?

Posted in the Columbus Forum

“THE GANG”

Since: Apr 10

Location hidden

#1 Mar 17, 2014
If Alzheimer's lay ahead, would you want to know?
Georgetown University scientists reported last week on what they believe to be a promising — not to mention easy and inexpensive — blood test for Alzheimer's disease.
Writing in the journal Nature Medicine, Dr. Howard Federoff and his team reported finding bio markers that were an accuratepredictor of the disease 96percent of the time.
There are other tests, including scans, spinal taps and genetic tests, that reveal or predict Alzheimer's, but this blood test has the possibility of becoming something your doctor can order up during an office visit.
But there is no cure for Alzheimer'sand no effective treatment.
Some drugs may slow the disease, but nothing has been found to stop — or reverse — its devastating theft of identity, memory and, ultimately, life.
Alzheimer's afflicts more than 5 million Americans, and those numbers, by some accounts, will triple by 2050. The odds are good that if you live into your 80s you will be laid waste by the disease or you will be caring for someone who has been.
Would you want to know in advance?
Knowing you are going to face Alzheimer's or a related form of dementia is the kind of information that is likely to change the way you live your life.
Your bucket list would come into focus, of course. But so would many more practical decisions. You would literally need to have your affairs in order before you could no longer put them in order.
Knowing, you might offer yourself for clinical trials to speed the research for treatment or a cure. And you could share your end-oflife decisions with someone you trust to carry them out. After all, this is a disease that robs you of the ability to control your own life.
But would you want to know?
If you learned of your risk early in life — in your reproductive years — you could make the decision not to have children and not to pass the risk on to the next generation.
But the Georgetown researchers tested people only 70 and older, and it is possible the bio markers were the result of changes that were taking place over a long period of time and not in evidence in younger people. More research is planned on that.
If you knew, you might make healthier lifestyle choices you believed would play a role in holding off the disease.
If you knew, you could seek whatever treatment is available before symptoms were in full bloom.
If you knew, it might change your decision about when to begin drawing Social Security, whether to sell your home or whether to reserve as much savings as possible for your care.
But it could also change your sense of self. Those who have had the genetic test for Alzheimer's, for example, and know they are at risk rate their memories worse than those who have the gene and don't know it.
If others knew, it could change how they treat you, how they relate to you. And you would see that change in them.
''The real advantage will come when we have a very specific treatment that is proven to make a difference safely,'' said Dr. Constantine Lyketsos, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Bayview and director of the Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center.''At that point, this test and others like it become important.''
But until then, would you want to know?
I asked Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, professor of bioethics and public policy at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, if he would want to know.
''If you could say with some certainty,'' he said,''I would want to know. It would make me behave differently. I would probably live my life differently.
''I would want to do the things that I want to do before I could not do them. I would want to say the things to people that I want to say before I couldn't say them.''
Reimer is a columnist for the Baltimore Sun.(MCT)

“THE GANG”

Since: Apr 10

Location hidden

#2 Mar 17, 2014
I don't think I could function having that knowledge.
I think everyone should always have their affairs in order and live a good life so there's no regrets.

“Cats rule.”

Since: Dec 09

Chardon Ohio.

#3 Mar 17, 2014
I don't remember.

“THE GANG”

Since: Apr 10

Location hidden

#4 Mar 17, 2014
Catman Dave wrote:
I don't remember.
Lol!
You got that right!
Hope all is well!

“Cats rule.”

Since: Dec 09

Chardon Ohio.

#5 Mar 17, 2014
BizzyBee wrote:
<quoted text>
Lol!
You got that right!
Hope all is well!
A bit nippy this morning, but everything is well.

Since: Oct 10

Location hidden

#6 Mar 17, 2014
Catman Dave wrote:
<quoted text> A bit nippy this morning, but everything is well.
We have 8" of friggin new snow!
Yes, i would want to know so I can take care of all the things I have forgotten to take care of.
I went for a soda the other night and there were sizzors in the fridge.
Not a good sign for things to come.:-)

Since: Oct 10

Location hidden

#7 Mar 17, 2014
In my experience, the worse thing you can do to an elderly person is move them out of their home and familiar surroundings. No looking for 'place for mom' in this family. Taking care of an elderly person is the best job you'll ever have.

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