Opinion: Alzheimer’s can devastate healthcare in the U.S., says AMAC

by | Jul 12, 2018 | Opinion

cure for Alzheimer’s disease does not exist and treatments are hit and miss. However, researchers are working overtime to find new ways to deal with the menace of dementia, according to senior advocate Dan Weber.

Dementia, most notably Alzheimer’s, is a leading cause of death among the elderly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association it kills one out of three seniors. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association says that between 2000 and 2015, deaths from heart disease decreased 11% while deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased 123%.

Weber, who is president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], says that the statistics paint a bleak picture. But, he says, researchers are making progress in finding ways of dealing with the illness. He cites recent news that Temple University scientists successfully used a 22-year-old asthma drug to reverse some of the most damaging effects of dementia in mice.

Dr. Domenico Praticò, Director of the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple and the study’s lead investigator, told the Philadelphia Inquirer “for the first time, we are showing that we can do something after the disease is established.”

It will take some time to determine whether such a treatment could be effective in humans, says Weber. “But, it provides a modicum of hope as do other such research reports, including work being done by researchers at Colorado University’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. Researchers there have been testing two drugs that hold promise—Aducanumab and Leukine.”

Aducanumab appears to be effective in eliminating plaque that builds up in the brain, which is a key factor in the development of Alzheimer’s. The Aducanumab study has been ongoing for years and remarkably is currently undergoing field trials in some 360 locations. Leukine, meanwhile, is clinical trials to see if it can be effective in “slowing or even stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” according to CU Anschutz.

Weber says that “it is imperative that scientists to find an efficient way to deal with Alzheimer’s because of the speed with which this particularly damaging form of dementia is claiming new victims. Left unchecked, the scourge of Alzheimer’s will have devastating consequences on healthcare in the U.S.” 

He cites these additional statistics courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association:

  There are more than 5.7 million Americans who are currently afflicted with the disease and that number will grow to 14 million by the year 2050

  Every 65 second a new case of the disease is diagnosed

  The disease kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined and is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States

  16.1 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias

  These caregivers provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of care valued at over $232 billion

  This year, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $277 billion and by 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion

“While we might worry about the prospect of a loved one falling victim to the disease, we need to accept the fact that any of us might need to assume the role of principal caregiver to a mother, father or other relative or friend in their later years. And so, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Friends and relations might not understand the nightmare of looking after an Alzheimer’s patient 24/7. But, it is comforting to know that there are people who understand your plight. And, they can provide comforting answer answers that can ease your frustrations as the illness progresses and imposes new, unthinkable burdens on you. They may not have all the answers, but they can let you know what to expect and provide ways of dealing with day-to-day situations,” concludes Weber.

Here’s a link to practical advice from individuals who have first hand knowledge of the consequences of the disease and stories about how they dealt with them: the Alzheimer’s Reading Room.

The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.

For more editorials like this subscribe in print or online.

0 Comments

Related News

Rural America needs sound, predictable tax policy

Rural America needs sound, predictable tax policy

They say that nothing is certain in life ex­cept death and taxes. While those two certainties are undeniable, we need to make sure that family-owned busi­nesses, including farms and ranches, aren’t taxed to death. Texas boasts more than 248,000 farming and ranch­ing...

read more
Absent lawmakers stymie special session

Absent lawmakers stymie special session

Nearly 60 Texas House Democrats left the state last Monday for Washington, D.C. in an effort to stop passage of a Republican-led elections bill. This in effect blocks all legislation since the House doesn’t have a quorum present. As the Austin Ameri­can Statesman and...

read more
We’re global now

We’re global now

No matter how hard we try, we really can’t avoid one another. We live in a world where what takes place some­where else on the globe has a very good chance of affecting us, along with many others. The pandemic, of course, is a useful – if sobering – ex­ample. A virus...

read more
Texans urged to roll up their sleeves

Texans urged to roll up their sleeves

Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas leaders are rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to encourage the public to follow suit. “I will never ask any Texan to do something that I’m not willing to do myself,” Abbott said before getting vaccinated at a...

read more
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Frances Pharcellus Church – New York Sun – 9/21/1897 “DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. “Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. “Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? “VIRGINIA O’HANLON.“115 WEST...

read more
Get your flu shot, governor says

Get your flu shot, governor says

While scientists race to develop a CO­VID-19 vaccine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is urg­ing everyone to get a flu shot. Texans need to do their part to keep moving forward the state’s recovery from the pan­demic, the governor said. Last week, he also eased restrictions...

read more
Pandemic messes with Texas, prompts new message

Pandemic messes with Texas, prompts new message

Even during a pandemic, it’s best to not mess with Texas. Texas Department of Trans­portation officials noticed more personal protective equipment -- face masks, wipes and gloves -- on the side of roads and high­ways, so they called in the big guns for a new round of...

read more
High-tech Lincoln Logs turn heads in Texas

High-tech Lincoln Logs turn heads in Texas

Trees are almost as old as dirt in the con­struction industry, but they’re new to Texas in the form of the state’s first mass timber office building. The Texas project generat­ing the buzz is The Soto, which opened last week at Eighth and Broadway streets in San...

read more