A blood test that can detect signs of Alzheimers as much as 20 years before its onset has been developed. Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis in Missouri believe it is 94% accurate while being much cheaper and simpler than a brain scan.
The test measures levels of amyloid beta protein, a key indicator of Alzheimer’s, and combines it with analysis of age and genetic risk factors. Researchers say clumps of the protein begin to form in the brain up to two decades before the onset of the characteristic memory loss.
I have more than enough experience of memory loss, whether you technically call it Alzheimer’s, or the effect of early brain trauma owing to an accident. Whatever the technical term used, it is a horrible disease, both for the sufferer and for the family of the sick person. How does one maintain one’s calmness when, for instance, you are physically assaulted by your own mother (who has no idea what she was doing)? How do you remain calm, understanding and patient when your companion gets lost going to the local store, or even forgets who you are?
I really think alzheimers ( memory loss, call it what you will) is one of the great challenges to those who follow and support the ideas of Epicurus. In his day life expectancy was short compared with today. The problem surely existed, but must have been fairly rare. Now it is an epidemic, testing the ataraxia of the most loving of us all.
On the other hand, do you really want to know that you are going to lose your memory twenty years from now? I suggest: only if a cure is on the horizon!