There are 5.7 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s Disease, an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. This heartbreaking disease not only robs people of their quality of life, it is also the sixth leading cause of death.
Recently, researchers released some very exciting news: Significant progress has been made on a method of diagnosis using artificial intelligence that could catch Alzheimer’s up to six years before a clinical diagnosis can be made!
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease, an early diagnosis can greatly improve both their quality and quantity of years. Typically, by the time enough symptoms manifest to make a diagnosis, a great deal of damage has already been done. The benefits of early diagnosis are many:
- Rule out other illnesses. Many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease can also be present with other conditions , a lot of which can be treated.
- Treatment. While Alzheimer’s Disease has no cure, the progression can be slowed and the symptoms delayed with proper treatment. Imagine what a difference 6 years could make!
- Time. Of course, slowing down the progression of this devastating illness offers valuable time. During this time, valuable memories can be preserved and new ones created.
- Preparation. Knowing that there may be difficult days ahead, early diagnosis can give families time to discuss upcoming decisions while the person with Alzheimer’s Disease is better able to participate.
- Financial reasons. On a personal level, there Is more time to prepare financially and possible benefits to individuals who are still in the workforce. On a national level, early diagnosis leads to treatment that begins in the stages of mild impairment, this would save well over $7 trillion dollars.
- Support. Early diagnosis gives the family more time to garner support, to learn about what to expect and to get safety measures in place.
While the full development of this new diagnostic method is still in progress, there is a reason to hope. In the meantime, if you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms that could be Alzheimer’s Disease, we urge you to speak to your physician soon; early diagnosis and treatment means so very much!