I strongly support efforts to cure Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. These scientific breakthroughs would bring tremendous relief and hope to millions of people currently living with these conditions and many more who will develop them in the future.
It is estimated that 5.5 million Americans of all ages were living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2017. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with the disease may nearly triple to a projected 13.8 million, “barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease” (2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures, Alzheimer’s Association). Such sorely needed breakthroughs would also bring great relief to millions of family members and friends who currently support and care for these individuals.
However, there is an increasing recognition among a growing number of experts that these efforts must be done in a more responsible, balanced, transparent, accountable, and ethical way than has generally been done to date. It is imperative to be truthful with the public about the current actual evidence-based likelihood for cure of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The public has the right to know.
Giving realistic hope for cure is needed if we are fully committed to “Authentic Partnership” with this population (a term coined by Professor Sherry L. Dupius, Murray Alzheimer’s Research and Education Program, University of Waterloo, Canada).
Frequent but unrealistic promises for cure of Alzheimer’s disease as “just around the corner” have been a commonplace and “business as usual” in the past several decades.
– Changing Aging