The One Thing I Tell My Patients Worried About Getting Alzheimer’s Disease

Ryan Townley

I am a father, a husband, a neurologist who specializes in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases, a program director at a university, and a clinical researcher. The brain is the most complex thing in the known universe. Views expressed here are my own.

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4 Responses

  1. JoeSal says:

    Fascinating work, thanks for sharing.Report

  2. “(shameless plug to donate your brains to science folks).”

    I won’t. I’ll be happy to donate my organs to help someone else live, but I’m not going to donate my body so a “doctor” can advance their career and make an incremental (but marginal, slow) improvement in health care. Not that I don’t, in the abstract, disagree with the premise: we need people who will donate their bodies to “science” in enough numbers to ensure medical advances. I probably have already (without knowing it) benefited from many of those advances. But I’m not inclined to participate.

    As for the “lifestyle pill”:in the end, we’re all going to die. Even if we do the 150 minutes “of moderate to intense cardiovascular exercise per week.”

    I know I sound callous and (by some lights) “anti-intellecutal.” And I’m going against the spirit of this OP. I realize we all (or most of us. Or many of of us) benefit from scientific discoveries. I have had had at least three people in my family die from what was (probably) Alzheimers: my grandmother, my aunt, and my father. The odds are that I’ll get it. And the odds are, further, that if I don’t get it, it may be because of the advancements of science and people who donate their bodies. But I won’t be doing so.

    Finally, I know I’m being unfair. I don’t apologize, but I do realize you’re offering this post in the spirit of distributing knowledge (and hope). If the issue were more imminent for me, maybe I’d do well to heed the message. But we need a “man in black” to remind us of those who are left behind in the name of “science.”Report

  3. Damon says:

    Welp…mom’s got dementia and will likely progress to full blown alzheimers..she already can’t care for herself…and dad had als….

    Thinking that the promise dad made to his wife not to put a round in his head isn’t going to be a promise I can make…though it won’t be a round in the head, it’ll be something less messy. I’ll not die like he did or she will.Report