Alzheimer's: Cure vs. Treatment

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

As I read the daily news in the field of brain health, I see the same facts used to support and round out almost every article on Alzheimer's disease. There is nearly always a reference to the 5.5 million Americans stricken, usually a brief description of the disease as a "progressive neurological disorder", and frequently, the nihilistic proclamation that there is no cure.

It is true of course; there is no cure. However, I am alarmed by the tendency of many to interpret that to mean that there is no treatment, which is inaccurate. The two statements are very different.

This problem doesn't seem to plague other diseases. There is no cure for hypertension or diabetes but that particular comment never seems to be appended to related news stories. Ditto for high cholesterol and osteoporosis. With all of those maladies, and many others, we have grown entirely comfortable with the notion of identifying them and treating them to best manage their forward course.

The reality is that Alzheimer's disease can be treated. Not yet with the efficacy with which we treat other diseases like those I mentioned but certainly well enough that people with memory concerns should pursue a diagnosis and, if it is Alzheimer's disease, seek treatment.

There is no denying that we need better treatments and ultimately a cure. In the meantime, a good diet, physical exercise, social engagement, and poly-therapy including a cholinesterase inhibitor plus Namenda can have a meaningful impact on the disease within many patients. We have no cure but that does not mean we have no treatment.

As we write here often, education and awareness about Alzheimer's disease will help to reduce the stigma of memory loss and promote more timely intervention. Please share this information with your online networks using the share button below.

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