essays

No Worse Curse

high school tennis teamThis just in from the Not So Good News Department. A new report tells us that Alzheimer's will be the "defining disease" of the baby boomer generation. Want to know your odds? The report indicates that one in eight boomers will eventually develop this progressive brain disorder.

The "Generation Alzheimer's," analysis predicts that as boomers begin to turn age 65, their risk doubles every five years. Up to 10 million boomers can expect to develop the disease, for which there is no prevention or cure.

If that statistic isn’t the ultimate downer for you, consider this. It’s very likely that many baby boomers will spend their retirement years either suffierng with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who has it.

Crikey! I’m doing as many crossword puzzles as I can. I’ll count backwards from 100, finally learn Spanish, and walk and chew gum at the same time! What more can I do?

The real question should be what more can WE do? The Alzheimer's Association, the group that released this latest report, chastizes the lack of federal funding for research. The report points out that the National Institutes of Health spends more than $6 billion a year on cancer research and $3 billion on HIV, but only about $480 million goes to Alzheimer's.

mind gameThis is already shaping up to be a classic “pay me now or pay me more later” proposition. If research and science are not ramped up to meet this challenge sooner rather than later, the eventual tab for nursing care, along with the loss of savings and the mental stress, make the initial outlay look miniscule.

If you want to do something now (before we’ve lost our minds for good), it just might be the right time to pressure our elected officials to put a greater emphasis on a cure or prevention.

I can laugh about it all now, because I still have a mind that can find the humor in almost anything. But you have to wonder what things will be like if nothing is funny.

What’s a 6-letter word for mental capacity for retaining facts? I know this one!

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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