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The emotional impact of dementia and Alzheimer's diagnosis on family members

 As more and more individuals face the challenges of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in person, the realization that this disease may indeed emotional torture the loved ones today, and then again impact the same tortured loved ones in the near future as the disease shows itself along genetic and hereditary lines.

To date, there is research that suggests a gene on chromosome 19 that is linked to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  In addition, there is a gene on chromosome 21 that seems to be linked to early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). 

These are the known ties in the research world today. 

In addition to the on-going loss and grieving cycle having a loved one with Alzheimer’s introduces, the loved one if there are  a son or daughter must also face a potential reality that if they live long enough, they too will be subject to this disease.  Seeking out alternatives to delay the on-set of disease symptoms becomes increasing importantly.  In addition, seeking out professionals to talk through the loss and fear of potential loss is healthy.

In terms of trying to delay the disease onset, studies over nearly 15 years in Japan, and now recently successfully replicated in the United States show that a consistent regiment of reading out loud (not silently), attempting basic math problem (not greater than second grade level with the focus on the attempt not the outcome), and hand writing a note/letter for a combined 20 minutes a day can help engage the working memory of pre-frontal cortex, resulting in many cases in improved memory capacity.

Other studies show that staying healthy through diet, exercise, brain stimulation, solid sleep cycles, and socialization help with the delay of dementia disease progression.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are showing up at an alarming rate throughout the world with at least three generations in any family being impacted by the onset.  This global epidemic requires more focus and effort to help those impacted today and save those who may be impacted tomorrow.     


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