Monday, November 17, 2008

This is Sad and Sobering

Alzheimer's is a scary possibility for older folks -- it is terrifying any earlier. Here's this sad report from The Wall Street Journal.

Brian Kammerer, the 45-year-old chief financial officer of a small hedge fund, called his wife one day from a cellphone in the men's room of his Manhattan office building. A colleague had just asked him for something, he whispered, but he had no idea what it was.

"It clicks and it holds papers together," he said.

"A stapler?" Kathy Kammerer asked.

"I think that's what it's called," he replied.

Soon after that exchange in early 2003, the father of three was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, capping nearly five years of uncertainty and fear about his increasing forgetfulness and difficulty with language.

While most people who get Alzheimer's are over 65, Mr. Kammerer is one of about 500,000 Americans living with Alzheimer's or other dementias at an atypically young age. Alzheimer's takes a long time to develop -- usually, it isn't diagnosed until 10 years after the first symptoms appear -- but more Americans are identifying it early, thanks in part to aggressive screening programs pushed in recent years by groups including the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, a national alliance of caregivers.

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