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April 04, 2008


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Patty McNally Doherty

While I appreciate Dr. Sabbagh's attempt to prevent Alzheimer's disease through the sage advice of exercising the mind, I am always struck by what I consider to be the great, big gigantic elephant in the room. University professors, chess masters, crossword puzzle enthusiasts, mathematicians, they all get Alzheimer's just as much and just as often as mental slouches. The athletes of mental dexterity fall victim as randomly as my group - the 2+2=5ers of the world.

We know so little about this disease, is the common refrain, that anything is better than nothing. I say we know a lot but have no money to properly fund the research that needs to be done.

I imagine what kind of reaction there would be to a book being published in the middle of the AIDS crisis called "The AIDS Answer" that would advise abstinence as the great prevention. I am bewildered by books with titles such as this. What might be a better one is "Another Alzheimer's Answer" or "Anzheimer's Answers on a Shoestring" or "The Best Alzheimer's Answer We Can Come Up With When Our Labs Are Underfunded"

Until then, this is ONE answer, not THE answer, and a palliative one at that.

The truth is we haven't got the money to do the necessary research. We have the brains, we have the scientists, we have the labs, we have the need. We just haven't got the political will. Till we do, it might be a better idea to exercise our votes, than our minds, to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

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