Research has been going on behind the Alz scenes for many years. I had never given much thought to what exactly this means until I read the book, The Inheritance by Niki Kapsambelis.
Auguste Deter was only 50 years old when she met Alois Alzheimer in 1901. Alzheimer was the first to recognize, after her autopsy, that lesions he found in her brain were linked to what was referred to as the “disease of forgetfulness”. Most doctors in that field had little interest in his work at the time. Sadly, he did not live to see his findings proven. He had, however, laid the groundwork for future generations.
Kapsambelis does an excellent job of following the research over the years, with many great minds working diligently to make a difference. It is a story of small victories and dashed hopes, time and again. One scientist spoke of “crawling towards our goal”. The battle for funding was problematic due to failure after failure.
The DeMoe Family in North Dakota is very much a part of this story, as they are plagued with diagnosis after diagnosis of early-onset Alz. It is heartbreaking to hear this family’s story! Despite their struggle with many family members battling through this disease, they made the decision to participate in a study which requires real personal sacrifice. While they deal with blow after blow, with each new diagnosis, their desire to find a cure and make a difference for future generations compels them to continue on. It is a fascinating story of courage and heartbreak…over and over again.
Pfizer Pulls Out
I just read the story about Pfizer pulling out of Alzheimer’s research, which apparently happened around the first of the year. Had I not read this book, I would not have given much thought to what this means for all the sacrifices that have been made since Alois Alzheimer first discovered those lesions on Auguste’s brain. The article says that more than 99% of trials have failed in the past 15 years. This is disheartening news to all of us who have an interest in this disease, but just think of all the families and scientists who have spent lifetimes working diligently to find this cure. Still, 5.7 Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease.
My heart is heavy.
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