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"Many people think Alzheimer’s disease affects our senior generation, but
they are so wrong. I started having symptoms at age 39. They refer to
people like me as having Young Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, or YOAD. Not
many people are even aware of YOAD. My wife, who is in the medical
field, was not even aware of this. The only people who seem to know
about it are the caregivers and the people affected, who will most
likely pass away within 8 – 10 years. A new person is diagnosed with
Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds. By 2050, that number will be every 33
seconds. As of today, there is NO cure or any way to slow its
progression. Even worse, this disease will bankrupt our health system if
we do not act now."
Michael went on to ask for help to spread the word, and to seek to get all of us to act before we too might become swallowed up in the "nothingness" that Alzheimer's Disease leads to. There are no simple, immediate solutions, but without doubt there is an answer, or maybe several answers, "out there", and we need maintain the enthusiasm that already exists within the Medical Research Community if we are to find effective treatments within the lifetime of Michael and others like him.
So what can we do?
First and foremost - reduce your risks. Stay healthy, stay active and stay involved. Use your brain in as many ways as you can and surround yourself with people with similar aims as yourself - and here I think there is enormous potential for Social Media to play an ever increasing role for those who live more isolated lives.
Keep yourself informed. There are many interesting avenues of research and treatments being developed all the time and they need to be critically evaluated: don't be afraid of voicing your opinion because it might just be the missing link in a long chain of productive inquiry.
Become actively involved in raising awareness of the challenge before us all. Rattle the can or just donate to registered organizations that are already doing great work in this difficult field. And always be prepared to offer support to family or neighbours whose lives have been burdened by this most difficult of diseases.