Saturday, April 11, 2009

The return on treating Alzheimer's

Kevin MD linked to a sort of sensationalist post questioning the amount of money that gets poured into the care of Alzheimer's patients. I'm no stranger to extremely expensive medical interventions, but I am of the opinion that current treatments for AD don't really justify their cost. They may slow the progression of disease, but at great monetary cost, and once you start going down the AD road, you're not coming back. (I may be uninformed as to what is possible in treatment of Alzheimer's, and I'd be happy to be corrected.)

I do know from experience that clearing cognitive impairment can make you feel "better" and relieve some real suffering, so I can see how drugs or therapy affecting cognitive function - even if it can't clear the cobwebs enough to allow a patient advanced in the disease to care for him or herself - could fall under normal pallitive-type care.

Me, if I ever get a diagnosis of AD, I don't know that I'd like anyone to bother treating the Alzheimer's itself.

What I'm not conflicted about whatsoever is keeping proper medical care of Alzheimer's patients. I've never been close to someone going through the course of AD, so I'm not able to say I can sympathize with the "Just have a stroke already, Grandpa" perspective.

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