Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Alzheimer's Disease: "I say the cure will come as quickly as the American people want it to come.”


Writing for the Penn Gazette, the alumni publication of the University of Pennsylvania, Samuel Hughes takes a close look at the Ivy League school's efforts against Alzeheimer's Disease

One of the Penn experts quoted is Dr. John Trojanowski, the William Paul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel Jr. Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, who notes that the annual cost of Alzheimer’s care in the US now at about $172 billion. Globally, the cost is about $604 billion, and by 2050, that number could rise as high as $3 trillion, Trojanowski says. A five-year delay could cut that number to around $1.5 trillion. “Half of $3 trillion is certainly a lot of money,” he adds. “But it’s far less than $3 trillion.”

The whole article is fascinating and full of detail, but in these paragraphs, Hughes lays out both the enormous cost and the enormous potential.  We could have a cure, if we really wanted one, says Trojanowski: 

Thirty years ago the late, great medical essayist Lewis Thomas called Alzheimer’s “the disease of the century.” While AIDS may have justifiably stolen the spotlight in the 20th century, the demographics and staggering costs associated with Alzheimer’s make it well-positioned to reclaim the title in the 21st.

“When Alzheimer described Alzheimer’s disease in 1906, life expectancy was 48, and the top 10 or 20 causes of death were infectious diseases,” points out Trojanowski. “A hundred years later, people are living to an average age of 78 in developed countries. And now Alzheimer’s, which was ignored, has become an epidemic. Alzheimer’s has replaced diabetes as the sixth leading cause of death in developed countries. 

“The current [global] cost of Alzheimer’s disease is $604 billion,” he adds. “If those costs were the economic output of a country, then the cost of Alzheimer’s care would mean that Alzheimer’s is between Turkey and Indonesia as the 17th-largest economy in the world. If it were a company, it would be the largest company in the world, larger than Walmart and Exxon Mobil. It’s affecting China, Southeast Asia, Australia, Indonesia. So it is a global problem. A global epidemic—with horrendous costs.

“We really owe it to ourselves and future generations to create a world without Alzheimer’s disease,” he adds. “And I think we can. Twenty years ago I wouldn’t have said that. We didn’t know enough. When asked at support groups by families that had an Alzheimer’s patient, I would almost tearfully have to say, ‘I have no idea.’ As a physician, to admit that there was nothing that you could do—and that you had no idea when something could be done—was emotionally difficult. And now it’s changed so dramatically that I say the cure will come as quickly as the American people want it to come.”

Words worth repeating: "The cure will come as quickly as the American people want it to come." 

One of the arguments of of this blog is that Serious Medicine does, in fact, need a strategy.  And strategy, of course, means aligning means and ends.  That is, can we mobilize what we have to achieve our goals?   It's not easy, of course, but the greater the stakes, the greater the reward for success, and the greater the cost for failure.  And right now, we are losing the war on Alzheimer's.  But, as Dr. Trojanowski says, we don't have to lose.  We could win this fight against AD if we wanted to. 

7 comments:

  1. Yes Jim, we could win the fight against Alzheimer's sooner than later. But our Politicians can only think as far ahead as the next November their names appear on the ballot. It’s the same with “Energy Independence” which has been going on since 1972. And we are still paying the fiddlers for it! :-(
    There are no profiles in courage anymore, ....... except maybe Chris Christie. I guess we’ll have to wait awhile for someone to put the train back on its tracks.

    Thanks Jim for putting Alzheimer’s at the forefront of your ‘pen’. Maybe the more we hear & read about it, the more focused the Hill People will become.
    I can dream, can’t I?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jim,

    The cost of unpaid caregivers in Texas equates to a cost of $11,168,705,965 in 2009 according to a report from the Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures Report, 2010. This disease has the potential to overwhelm public and private health care and undermine the economic health of the United States. If ever there was one disease to cure, this is it.

    Thanks for making this topic a priority.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have such wonderful thoughts. Such positive thinking you have. People should keep positivity.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "The cure will come as quickly as the American people want it to come." Not sure it is this simple. There are so many worthy competing interests in society that need resources. Even within the medical universe, there are so many causes and constituencies that feel they deserve a higher priority. We can't fund all of them. What about cancer, heart disease and stroke? Arthritis? Toxic and virulent infections? Artifical organs? Outside of the medial arena, society is deluged with great and growing needs.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow.. Nice information, I like this thought and Its really makes me happy. Its really very positive for me. Thanks for sharing .

    ReplyDelete
  6. Valium is a benzodiazepine occupied to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and buy valium online no prescription. It may also be tempered to to treat seizures, insomnia, and other conditions as unfaltering by your doctor. Take Valium perfectly as prescribed. If you are taking buy valium for epilepsy, fashion sure you take it every day at the same everything. Follow the directions for using this physic provided by your doctor.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rose Weel is my name, I live in USA. I want to say to the whole world how my husband was cured of his Alzheimer’s disease. Brothers and Sisters, my husband is 78 years old. He is a retired US Army. He fought so many wars, and had encounter with so many dangerous diseases. Before he embarked on his last peace mission to Iraq they were administered injections that will enable them carry out their duties effectively. So they went to the battle field where he lost so many of his colleagues and also he was shot on his throat but bullets don’t have much effect on him. So after the battle he survived it and returned back to USA off course he was rewarded heavily by the government, and that lead to his retirement. But after his retirement, he began to behave funny like forgetting all he did in the past, and sometimes don’t recognize me his wife quickly. I took him to Military hospital, and the doctor said some king of liquid in his body is causing him so many reactions, and this is affecting his brain to cut the long story short, after much diagnoses using EEG, and also the test of PROTEIN 14-3-3 all pointing out to the fact that his brain has malfunction. So he was giving medicines but his condition was still becoming worse even while taking the medicines administered. So we went back to the military hospital, and he was finally diagnosed of Alzheimer’s disease and this the doctor said have no cure. So his conditions began to get worst by the day. I cried out for help, but the government only gave us financial support. I all the time surf the web looking for possible cure until I ran into a blog where a man named James Watt gave testimony on how his cousin was cured of CJD by an herbal doctor called Doctor Uwadia Amenifo. In his testimony he imputed the contact detail of the herbalist. So I quickly copied out the contact details of Uwadia, and I contacted him immediately and explained to him what my husband is going through. He encouraged me and promised me that surly he will cure my husband, so after all necessary arrangement was made; he prepared the herbal medicine, and shipped it to me in USA, so I followed his instructions, and gave the medicine to my husband. Behold just like a magic in my eyes my husband was responding positively to the medicine and in just less than 3 weeks I started giving him the medicine, he was very okay, and in less than 7 weeks my husband was totally curd, and as I speak to you now my husband is totally cured, and he is now very okay, and in good health. So please all here shall help me say a big thanks to Doctor Uwadia Amenifo for helping me cure my husband of his Alzheimer’s disease. Please if you need Doctor Uwadia’s contact details, here is it. Email (doctoruwadiaamenifo@gmail.com) and his number is (+2349052015874). God bless all.

    ReplyDelete