Alzheimer’s Disease

Consistent with my philosophy of finding the “road less traveled,” one major area of interest for me is Alzheimer’s disease, which actually is the third-highest cost medical condition in our U.S. healthcare system, far more than HIV/AIDS and many other conditions that get more publicity and funding.

I should confess that I have a personal interest in Alzheimer’s.  I have had family members that either had Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.  I do not know whether my loved ones had Alzheimer’s because autopsies were not done, and, as I understand it, an autopsy is the only definitive way to determine whether a person has had Alzheimer’s.  Fairly definite diagnoses can be made through memory assessment, and the earlier memory assessment and diagnosis can be done, the more can be done for an Alzheimer’s patient.

I help advise the Boston University (BU) Alzheimer’s Disease Center, one of the slightly more than two dozen centers designated as a center of excellence by the National Institutes of Health in a highly-competitive process.  On June 20, I attended an advisory group meeting at BU Medical School.  I also visited a few university mail centers on this trip, and spent some time with one of our top sales professionals who has sold products to many colleges and universities. 

Several conclusions jumped out at me:

I am confident that significant progress will be made in the next 10 years to slow down disease progression, and maybe even stabilize patient situations.  I would hope that we will see a time that the progression of this disease can actually be reversed.