The Problem of Alzheimer’s: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It
By Jason Karlawish
Can we eradicate Alzheimer’s? And why has this disease now become such a crisis? Experts estimate that 5.8 million Americans had the Alzheimer’s in 2020, at a cost of approximately $226 billion. And caregivers are not getting the help — financial and otherwise — that they need. Karlawish, who works at the Penn Memory Center in Philadelphia, fascinatingly tracks the history of Alzheimer’s, arguing that because our health system ignored it for so long, dismissing it as cognitive impairment instead of a brain disease, research faltered. While there are some hopeful new drugs, there is still no cure — but there are ways to reduce the impact of the disease: Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol. Rethink how you can support family members with Alzheimer’s and look into progressive care communities. And most important, Karlawish suggests, vote for candidates who recognize the disease as a growing problem as our society ages, and are most likely to fight for research and treatment funding.