It does illustrate a pathetic point about our society, With a disease that affects some five million people, this is not a well known fact. We don't like to think or talk too much about dementia if it does not affect us directly. If it affects us directly, others that are not affected don't like to talk about it to us. So therefore we can't really learn about it from each other. Thank God some people still read TIME Magazine.
Now what's even more sad and pathetic is that many physicians who perhaps don't treat this population and this disease don't know this. Hence arguably the most prestigious medical journal out there, the New England Journal of Medicine publishes this study. It is big news ...I guess. At least the media will jump on it.
Now another key point is this. Thinking along these lines, there are some 47,000 people who die from AD, each year. I STRONGLY, STRONGLY feel that this number is grossly underestimated.
Why? Big secret?? A lot of docs don't like to list Alzheimer's as cause of death on the death certificate. WHY?.... My God its not like it is taught in medical school that dementia is not a fatal illness. I'm pretty sure most students in medical school over the last 20 years have been taught somewhere that AD IS fatal.
Now in thinking about this TIMELY article even more.... there is no question and no argument that we need more palliative care. WE can't cure it. It is terminal. Is this a new concept? NO.
Do families want to hang on and be aggressive in treatment? YES. SOME do. Not all. Are families that hang on and want everything aggressive done bad people and bad families?
Of course not, but they do deserve to have an empathic conversation with their doctor about the last stages of the disease. They should not be considered bad because there grief leaves them in a not so politically correct realm. Is palliative care okay? Is it okay not to be aggressive in treatment? Of course it is. ... and its politically correct, what a perk!
Have these discussion been taking place, by GOOD doctors and chronically grief stricken families for years? YES...... long before all the political popularity and cultural buzz and media hub-bub and POTENTIAL economic gravy train for end of life counseling?
Is it politically timely? YES. Do politically palatable publications mean grant money?? Absolutely. But anything that studies and raises awareness of AD , We will take.
Finally, Finally something in the health care debate and crisis that has in a very convoluted way had a direct effect on increasing awareness of AD.
By the way that "end of life counseling" is not President Obama's idea, contrary apparently to popular belief. To actually get payed for it, is maybe new and this idea makes articles like this Time Magazine one below stand up and get noticed.
One other final thought. And this is in My Book. I Am finishing my book. My mother died 22 years ago from Alzheimer's. It is awful and you go on....... the reason that I never finished my book in recent years by the way, is that I never had an ending.
The effect and toll Alzheimer's takes on family members, never really ends.
The end of my book will be done. When I see articles like this in Time and this NEJM study, I realize my mother's story, my becoming a physician while she was dying from AD was just a begining. It is just one true story. There are millions and millions out there, and since my mother lived through it and died from it, not much had changed in 20 years, with what we really know about it. We have come so far but yet are still barely scratching the surface.
So here's that final thought for this whole post, its in my book..... it gives perspective......
You know what...... read the TIME ARTICLE below this post first, then I'm going to give you a perspective, an image, a visual that to the best of my knowledge one else has yet given in regard to this disease......I promise.