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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stress and that which stresses us Thursday, October 13, 2011

As I sit in a doctor’s waiting room, I see a copy of AARP magazine. I never joined this group, since they started soliciting my dues when I turned fifty. Then I felt that nothing within the magazine had reference to me. My father had died, but my mother was healthy and vibrant. Today however, I appreciated each article and the ads as well. One spoke of Alzheimer’s disease and the many articles about the disease in the media this summer. A poll showed that many folks think there is a test that will tell them if they have the disease. Many more feel that early testing will provide medication that would be helpful for them.

The article reiterated that both feelings are so far, false. There is no definitive test available today that can diagnose early stage Alzheimer’s. There are merely the mini-mental tests, the MRI’s, the questionnaire that have been around for a while, which many neurologists feel are sufficient to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. In my experience with my husband, they were unwilling to diagnose him with Alzheimer’s disease until he reached the Moderate stage. Earlier the diagnosis was Mild Cognitive Impairment. Before that, the first neurologist told us “It’s probably some sort of dementia.”
The medications that are so far available delay the process of the disease for a few years at best, but no cure is available. There is much work that needs to be done. Only in clinical trials are some people able to be diagnosed early and some will participate in testing new and promising medications.

So when I worry about my own forgetfulness, when my friends recall their memory mishaps, we are still left with self- diagnoses of stress and we tell each other to slow down, take it easy, reduce the stress and enjoy life. It works—until the next time we misplace or forget something meaningful.

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