Your Views: Story shows education about dementias is lacking

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Associated Press article about pending blood tests for Alzheimer’s (Page 6C, March 30) does a great disservice to families affected by this disease and to the general public. Not only is the story misleading but it is downright inaccurate.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the initial diagnosis resulting in dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease is only one of four major dementias (Lewy Body; Frontal Temporal, redefined from Pick’s Disease; and Vascular being the others). Associated with those, there may be a combination or other medical reasons to cause 20 to 25 other dementias. No one, to date, can diagnose any of the dementias without an autopsy of the brain.

I spent years caring for my husband, whose life ended because of dementia. Wisconsin wanted to charge me $1,000 for an autopsy. Conventional wisdom among leading doctors is turning to treating the symptoms and not the disease. I think we may find someday that environmental reasons are the cause—the foods we eat (and don’t eat), the air we breathe, the lifestyles we live, etc. When you meet someone with Alzheimer’s, you’ve met someone with Alzheimer’s. No two are the same. Symptoms and causes of dementia are like fingerprints and snowflakes. No two are alike.

The lack of education (as the article proves) is devastating. The social prejudice, denial, and ignorance are overwhelming. We need research funding and education, especially in the pathology area. We know the end of the story. We need to know the beginning.



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