Today: Early Alzheimer’s Symptoms
The number of Alzheimer’s Disease patients is expected to double by 2050, and new research is indicating that early detection might be the answer to finding a cure. Maria Shriver lost her father to the disease, and she came to the show with one woman’s story of early detection.
Nancy Albertson was in her late fifties when she started to get uneasy. Her mother had died from the disease, and she decided to ask her primary care physician about it. She thought she might have the disease when she started to have problems with language recall, forgetting words that you should otherwise remember.
Her doctor, Gordon Golden, said that the symptom is rarely seen in anyone under 60, and he wanted to get the problem looked at as soon as possible. After being referred to a neurologist, Nancy was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.
Today: Alzheimer’s Early Detection
Dr. Maria Carrillo is presenting new research into the disease at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Boston. Early detection of Alzheimer’s is a hot topic, and they are prepping doctors on how to start detecting it early on, because that could be the best hope of treating or finding a cure for the disease. If you know what’s happening in the brain early on, you can start planning for what to do early on.
After watching her mother die of the disease, Nancy Albertson struggled to reveal her disease to her siblings, but eventually did so via a letter. Now, she keeps a video diary, documenting her life with Alzheimer’s and how she is coping with it. Thanks to early detection of the disease, she has been able to retain much of her life before the disease, even driving to the market to get groceries.
Today: Living With Alzheimer’s
Nancy and her husband, Rick, go to a local support group to get help and preparing for what may come in the future. Rick has hired a part-time caregiver for Nancy, and Nancy has worked on keeping her mind sharp by learning how to play the washboard in Rick’s bluegrass band that meets every week.
The early diagnosis is great not just for her, but for the doctors that want to do studies so that they may help others in her position further down the road. They can see what the brain looks like as it is changed by the disease and use the information to help others.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman said that the best way to catch Alzheimer’s earlier is to watch for older people that seem to be searching for words when speaking and having trouble solving basic problems.