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September 15, 2010


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Mona, great post.

Health care is driven by "diagnosis" but "diagnosis" has too much uncertainty to carry this burden, reality is too messy. "Diagnosis" hides the messiness. This needs a major study.

We can -- we do -- know how to deal with messy reality in many parts of our lives. Why not in health care also?

Danny George

Mona, like Don said above, this is just a fantastic, balanced piece. Another dimension of this that is worrisome is cost. Peter and I had the chance to meet w/ a rep from Athena, the company that makes the kits for the biomarker test Gina Kolata wrote about in the NY Times. $903 for the testing itself, not to mention the cost of nurses/doctors who administer the spinal tap (about $3,000 if you factor that in). Not sure we can afford a test like this as a society, esp when it risks so many false positives. Nevertheless, I appreciate that people need hope and clarity, and that the dominant medical model provides that. All we can do is empower folks with enough information to know that they have a choice in determining their clinical course


I feel it's so important to look at health and disease as it manifests uniquely in each individual, which you support so well with this article.

Labels and diagnoses only get us so far, but careful observation and attention to detail is quite different, as lucky Mary Kay Baum found out with her astute neurologist.

Hopefully in the future there will be less categorizing in dementia treatment and more attention to a person's unique challenges, which can be treated in multifaceted ways if we keep our minds open.

August J. Specht II


What a great piece of writing on such a complex topic. This is a subject I follow due to relatives on both sides of my family getting sheared off by Alzheimers. The most recent being a 59 year old cousin.

It seems every week there is another announcement of a breakthrough, I believe the latest is mega-dosing Vitamin B. I'm unfortunately not highly optimistic as every report seems to have us chasing our tails in another direction: Mediterranean diet, olive oil, crosswords, cholesterol medicine, exercise, blah blah blah. My Uncle Jim did all of that, a brilliant athlete, educator, botanist, multi-lingual, ate fish regularly and before my eyes became a little boy. None of it worked.

I guess a small pearl of hope can be found in the aging boomers who - like with every other major event of their generation - will clamor for what they want and need. Alzheimer's is and will be a frightening specter for all of us.

My local physicians have recommended I take a daily baby aspirin (81 mg) to prevent what some see as the true culprit: Mini-strokes. I'm also indulging in Omega 3.

Keep up the great work Mona. I'm very sorry to learn of your Dad and am grateful that you are helping spread awareness.




Yes, thank you for a balanced look at the field of Alzheimer's research. Given the desperation for a cure, the urge to jump to conclusions or to find a shortcut by signing up for iffy drug trials is a setup for high failure rates. But what can we do besides take huge risks at this point?

richard taylor

Hello, you are insightful, brilliant, a wonderful writer, and a shining light of truth for so many of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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