Thursday, 5 April 2012

The fatalism of the experts

There is no such thing as remission in Alzheimer's, or so we are told. I saw a web Q & A with David Shenk, author of 'The Forgetting', a fascinating 'history' of the disease, and he said this in so many words. And you can find several other eminent professionals on the web saying the same thing.

Yet reading Shenk's own book I came across Morris Friedell. Shenk was obviously impressed with his abilities, in 1999, and it appears from his web presence that he is still going strong  -  and is in touch with other people who also seem to be holding the disease at bay. This is inspiring.

What increasingly depresses me about the experts (and actually Shenk is essentially a journalist so may have some excuse) is their fatalism about the disease. I think it must arise from the fact that this is so predominantly a disease of old age. Maybe there's an unspoken assumption that as they're soon going to die anyway, it doesn't really make a lot of difference that there's no remission, no cure  -  and precious little effective treatment. Whatever the reason, it would be good to see more attention paid to people like Friedell and what the experts who haven't experienced the disease themselves might learn from some brave spirits who have. We rightly admire and laud people who 'struggle' with terminal cancer, but people with dementia are seldom if ever talked about in the same way, even though many of them may really be doing themselves a great deal of good by refusing to accept that their fate is sealed.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting blog. Maybe we should find out what Friedell is doing that might be the reason he's still going srong.