STEMz and Alzheimer’s

I’d like to say “I’m baaaaaaaaccckkkk” (apologies to a very old movie, ‘Poltergeist’), but personal issues are subject to change and so I will try to keep the blog going at least once a week.

There is yet another report tonight regarding Alzheimer’s disease, the one that robs a person of their memory and their motor skills. This one is looking at a person’s gait as an indicator of memory loss. With a lot of exceptions, including my own family, I really don’t see this as a stunning, newsworthy event.

What I would like to see is a STEM out there really focus on finding out the cause for this disease. And SOON!

My mother lives in a small, fifty-bed, facility. The facility currently houses about thirty patients. Over half of them suffer with some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s. This is just one home in a small town in Oklahoma, folks. Multiply that by the thousands of homes and memory care facilities and it’s not hard to understand the news reports that this disease will cause serious overload on our health care system in the coming years.

The disease is very hard on the family and friends of the patient. Punctuated by mood swings, physical swings, frustration, and anxiety, imagining just what the patient is feeling not knowing what is going on induces a lot of stress for the caregiver.

Physicians prescribe various medications, pain relievers, anxiety medications, and anti-depressants, in addition to blood pressure, blood thinners, and other drugs to address those maladies. This results in a very intricate balance for the patient to maintain some stability. One missed dose, one miss filled prescription and the patient can be ill for days.

I know that Alzheimer’s runs in my family and I’m not concerned as much for me contracting the disease as I am for my family and friends who will have to watch my decline. Of course I’m assuming my family and friends will care for me as the disease progresses. So many families use the homes as a dumping ground of sorts. That’s a lecture for another time.

Research scientists involved in the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s will no doubt be influenced by the burgeoning pharmaceutical and memory care industries, which are growing by leaps and bounds. I really hope that for this disease and cure and understanding of the cause trumps the profits these places are after.

For now, I write, walk, workout, keep active and try to eat healthy. I also attempt to keep stress levels down to stave off the disease. I know a STEM or two or three are out there looking for that elusive gene. Here’s to finding it soon.

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About stemzandroses

I'm an engineer and writer with a built-in need to share my nearly 40 years of experience working in a male-dominated field with the rest of the world.
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