Saturday, 25 July 2020
Anyone who has ever encountered Alzheimer's - or any other form of dementia - knows that this is no cure. It is stated bluntly by the professionals from day one. I presume that this truthfulness is a key part of some shared code of practice.
So research is the only hope for the 850,000 people known to have dementia in the UK at present. About two thirds of that number have Alzheimer's. Numbers are growing all the time. We need ways of combatting it for future generations.
Far less money is spent on Alzheimer's research than on studies relating to heart and lung disease but nontheless there seems to be a reported study almost every day. And as ever I'm struck by how blindingly, pointlessly unoriginal some of them are.
Take Prof Jin-Tai Yu's research at Fudan Universitym China which reached the UK press last week. He indentifies 10 ways of preventing Alzheimer's. One is to get a good education in early life. What are you supposed to do about that if you're already grwon up and didn't get one? After that is all the usual stuff about not smoking, eating healthily, avoiding obesity, getting exercise and doing word puzzles. We've seen it all before many times.
Then, in the same week, we read about a University College London study which analysed 12 studies in European and Asian countries and concluded that loneliness is a danger risk factor. Well who would have guessed? Fine time to announce this, too, when tens of thousands of elderly people have had to endure extreme loneliness for months.
The loose conclusiion of both studies is that about a third of Alzheimer's cases are preventable. Nick was evidently in the unlucky two thirds because he none of the factors mentioned applied to him - as, I think, The Alzheimer's Dairies; a love story makes clear. Thanks for all your support.