Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dementia Anxiety; fearmongering, false data, or accurate predictions?

We are finding recent studies are demonstrating how incidents of dementia are going down in

studies from Sweden and in a couple of other countries, including the US. We are living better and living longer.

I have seen a large number of my hospice clients who are facing COPD, and other chronic diseases, including diabetes, due to poor nutrition and inadequate exercise.

Alternative therapy
We've seen how much US pharmaceuticals drive healthcare in the US. These practices: bribing doctors, giving samples, and negative studies quashed before publication, leak across permeable Canadian borders, despite our universal healthcare system. They cause lobby groups to extrapolate data, which may not apply to Baby Boomers in their golden years. We know how badly screening tests work for many diseases, such a breast cancer and prostate cancer. We also know about much easier tests that exist, yet many refuse to admit symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, and many confuse such symptoms with delirium.

Pharmaceuticals would have you think this is true. They want more testing of, for example, beta-amyloids, plaques which block cells from communicating with one another. US Medicare is going to pay for the test, with costs between $3000 and $5000, and often not covered by private insurance.

Alzheimer.org states:
Today, an American develops Alzheimer's disease every 68 seconds. In 2050, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
An estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease in 2013.This includes an estimated 5 million people age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer's.

The facts are hard to determine. The only way to diagnose Alzheimer's Disease is by an autopsy. How many aged seniors have an autopsy? How many are officially diagnosed with dementia, a symptom of other disorders, at this time? My Dad's brain tumour gave him dementia, but I was the one that diagnosed it. It was not officially diagnosed, and I was unable to convince staff in his long-term care that he was even palliative.


Alzheimer’s Anxiety

People have trumpeted the development of a new test that can measure the presence of beta-amyloid — the protein clumps in the brain that are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s dementia. The patient is injected with a radioactive molecule that zeros in on beta-amyloid, and a positron emission tomography, or PET, scanner then detects the radioactivity. In April 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved Eli Lilly’s radioactive molecule for patients who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of cognitive decline that result in forgetfulness or disorientation.

The Alzheimer’s Association has posted on its website, “Despite the concerns and complications, we believe it is valuable to the Alzheimer field — to the pursuit of better Alzheimer diagnostics, treatments and preventions — to have this product more widely available.” But the Alzheimer’s Association isn’t entirely unbiased. Since 2008, it has received $1.6 million from Lilly. And in 2012 it received more than $4 million from all drug companies — many of which are selling Alzheimer’s drugs.

References




  • Qiu C, von Strauss E, B├Ąckman L, Winblad B, Fratiglioni L. Twenty-year changes in dementia occurrence suggest decreasing incidence in central Stockholm, Sweden (PDF). Neurology 2013.
  • Schrijvers EMC, Verhaaren BFJ, Koudstaal PJ, Hofman A, Ikram MA, Breteler MMB. Is dementia incidence declining? (PDF) Neurology 2012; 78(19): 1456-63.
  • Rocca WA, Petersen RC, Knopman DS, et al. Trends in the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive impairment in the United States. Alzheimer’s and Dementia 2011; 7(1): 80-93.
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