Baby Boomers and Alzheimer's Disease


Alzheimer's: A Slow-Motion Train Wreck

The stunning thing about this whole "slow-motion train wreck" is that many of the boomers have seen their parents suffer and die with the disease yet seem unaware that: 1) their own risk (and their children's risk) of getting Alzheimer's is much higher; and 2) that the disease might not be just treatable but preventable.

Unlike the gay community that mobilized and, by raising an extraordinary amount of funding, made AIDS entirely treatable in less than 10 years, the boomer group is not only silent about Alzheimer's disease but seems to be pushing an agenda that amounts to signing their own death warrant.

I can only assume that there is either a pervasive lack of understanding of the fact that there is just as much hope with Alzheimer's as there was for AIDS, and/or, because Alzheimer's is a "mental" disease, the stigma associated with losing that which makes us human (brain function) is "gagging" this group from advocating for themselves -- as well as their children and society at large.

After all, the scientific community has in fact "hit the first AD target." In other words, amyloid has been removed by some treatments. Although at the time the amyloid target was chosen it was very promising, it has so far proved to be the wrong target.

In the battle with AIDS, there were wrong targets pursued, also. But funding was sufficient to pursue other targets that succeeded.

There are, similarly, many targets in Alzheimer's disease. They are not being pursued because of lack of funding. Meanwhile, the mass of boomers are starting their inexorable march off the Alzheimer's disease cliff like so many millions of lemmings.

Dr. George Bartzokis is a professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and a member of the UCLA Brain Research Institute and the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.

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