A recent HBO Alzheimer's Project/Harris Interactive Poll revealed that 54% of the U.S. population, or more than 100 million people, have been touched in some way by Alzheimer's. The same poll indicated that roughly a third of Americans are worried about getting Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's is a sinister disease that is hard to detect. It is not unusual for people in an early stage of dementia to live by themselves, drive an automobile, shop at the grocery store, and pay their own bills.
If you met my mother, who has been suffering from Alzheimer's for years, you might never know that she is suffering from dementia. She can hold a fascinating conversation with a complete stranger. If you talk to my mother and ask her age, she'll look at me. When I tell the stranger she is 93 years old they are often blown away.
She will tell the person she has never been sick in her life, has never taken a pill (she takes seven medications each day), still drives a car (she hasn't driven in six years), and just about anything that comes to her mind. When she tells her "stories" she sounds very believable.
Meanwhile, if you were to ask her what year it is, what month, what day of the week, or what she had to eat five minutes ago she could not answer any of those questions.
It took four different doctors to diagnose her dementia five years ago.
Researchers at the Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England have developed a new test for Alzheimer's. The results for Test Your Memory (TYM) were released in a recent article in the journal BMJ.The test can be administered in five minutes, and the researchers found it was 93 percent accurate in the group they tested.