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One Doctor Says There’s Too Much Bad News About Alzheimer’sposted on June 21, 2012 - 2:33 pm
A neurologist in Texas is determined not to let all the bad news about Alzheimer’s get him down – or his patients. He says there’s too much fear-mongering in the media and I’m inclined to agree. While there’s no debating that Alzheimer’s is a very serious and ultimately fatal disease, sometimes even well-meaning Alzheimer’s advocates play up the most negative aspects, to help build public support.
Dr. Ronald Devere has just published a book humorously titled: “Memory Loss: Everything You Want to Know But Forget to Ask.” The book covers normal and abnormal memory changes; other conditions that can cause memory loss like thyroid conditions or sleep disorders; potential therapies; and how to get help.
Dr. Devere is an ardent advocate of early detection, because he rightly points out that there are life style changes and drug therapies that can be effective for people with memory loss and cognitive decline. He recommends such medications as Aricept; Cerefolin tablets (combination of B12 and folate); a Mediterranean diet; and 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. Read more
The Alzheimer’s Association says certain medications, including the drugs Dr. Devere prescribes, may lessen symptoms for a limited period of time. They will not, however, stop the disease from progressing.
I applaud Dr. Devere’s self-described “glass half full” attitude since the negative hype doesn’t serve patients and can discourage people with memory loss from getting screened. If you are over the age of 65, or have a family history of Alzheimer’s, discuss a screening with your family physician. Research indicates that Alzheimer’s is present in the brain years before symptoms appear and PET scans are getting to the point where they can detect it.
Early detection gives the patient more say in their long term care and a family more time to plan for the future. It’s true that some people say the stigma of Alzheimer’s can be as burdensome as managing the disease itself. That’s why Dr. Devere’s effort to get the facts straight is all the more appreciated.