Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another Mile Post

The first wave of Boomers are hitting the magical age of 65 this year. While most won't be able to collect regular Social Security yet, all will qualify for Medicare. While that may take some pressure off personal finances, it will transfer that pressure to the federal program. We all know that as one ages, one's medical expenses increases and Medicare bears the brunt of that increase. Some attempts to rein in those costs have been implemented in the 2010 healthcare law, but the federal government would do well to look at other ways to contain the costs of getting old.

One of the scourges of old age is Alzheimer's Disease. We still have a long way to go in untangling the causes of the disease, and perhaps an even longer way to go in finding a cure. However, we are making some positive steps in both directions. The Los Angeles Times editorial board took note of one such step.

...there was some heartening news this week: An advisory committee to the FDA unanimously approved the use of a chemical dye that highlights, on imaging scans, the plaque in the brain that is the telltale sign of encroaching Alzheimer's.

This may not seem like really good news. A test reveals that you'll get a disease that steals your memory and, ultimately, leaves you dysfunctional, and there's little you can do except maybe set aside some money for future caregivers. Not to mention the ethical problems: Could you lose your job if the test results become known? Or your health insurance?

Frankly, I'm of the opinion that knowing is always better than not knowing, especially when it comes to health conditions. Maybe setting aside money for future caregivers seems thin soup to the editorial board, but to those with this horrid disease it's an important first step. Other decisions can be made now, while faculties are still unimpaired, when those decisions can make a huge difference, especially to family members.

As to the ethical considerations that flow from the diagnosis, especially with respect to health insurance and jobs, there are now laws on the books which provide some protection against such forms of discrimination, even if they could stand a little tweaking.

But the editorial makes an important point regarding what we as a nation must do:

According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, estimated funding for Alzheimer's in fiscal year 2011 is $480 million. For cancer, it's more than $6 billion. Only a small percentage of worthy Alzheimer's research projects receive NIH funding. That should change.

Why, yes. Yes it should. That will happen only if we demand it, and do so very loudly. I'm grateful that the Los Angeles Times started the ball rolling in that regard.

Damned grateful.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

[/url] ciclosporin rheuma online
ciclosporin zytostatika
cyclosporine liver toxicity

2:34 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home