McConnors corner
Losing The Memory Of Your Life
By Sean McConnor
Sep 14, 2008 - 1:22:33 AM

The MayoClinic.com website says that Alzheimer's disease was named after a German neurologist, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, after he had a patient with progressive dementia who died with clumps and knots in her brain. Today, her symptoms are those of Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's is an incurable disease with its corresponding loss of intellectual and social abilities. It damages the brain cells responsible for the functioning of the brain that deal with memory, intelligence, judgment and speech as reported on the website "Mama's Health.com." A small number of its victims are under 50 years old, but most are 65 years of age or over. A rare form of the disease affects people in their 40's and 50's.

The Medic Alert Member News website announces that September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day. It also says that more the 5 million people have the disease. The Medic Alert site bulletin says advancing symptoms may be mistaken for drunkenness or mental illness.

So, we have the official line on the disease. I know first-hand how it affects a person. I had an aunt who was diagnosed with the disease and finally died from the symptoms. She was a well educated woman with a Master's degree who taught school for years. In the end, she was a woman who couldn't remember basics and spent her time doing repetitive tasks such as putting her shoes and socks on and off. Fortunately for her, however, her daughter built onto her house and she and her partner cared for my aunt. Even at home, it was rough. My aunt could not remember anything.

Everyone, I guess, has some lapses of memory when they are under stress or get a little forgetful as we age, but when it increases, we get disorientated, we have trouble doing regular things (cooking, bathing, etc) and we get mood swings; it is worth a trip to our primary doctors to get checked out. Alzheimer's is not curable, but, there are steps we can take to combat its onset and the normal forgetfulness as we age.

For example, MayoClinic.com website recommends some things such as watching our weight, taking some over-the-counter medicines and vitamins and ginkgo, and maintaining mental fitness (maintaining mental exercises and learning). Reducing the onset of the disease may decrease the number of people who have it at one time.

What is the expression? "A mind is a terrible thing to waste?" It applies to persons who don't get a chance to use their fine minds because of economic and physical problems.  Losing your mind with a lifetime of memories and experiences because of Alzheimer's is equally horrible.



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