Late last year, a longtime caregiver sent me an article entitled, “New Method Predicts Time from Alzheimer’s Onset to Nursing Home, Death.”
The article describes a 10-year study of two groups of patients measured across 16 variables. Despite the number of variables creating limitless result options, the researchers claim they’ve validated the predictive value with even fewer variables.
From a research point of view, such a statement is astounding
considering each patient takes a unique road through Alzheimer’s.
I remain optimistic and await more study results from different researchers.
This initial study by Columbia University Medical Center, used white, educated, higher socioeconomic level participants to clinically validate a new method for predicting time to full-time care, nursing home residence, or death for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
I’m curious to see the results from different demographics, for example, people with only a high school education who perhaps have been skilled laborers. Studies show that this population has fewer reserves that delay the decline of Alzheimer’s in those engaged in more challenging cognitive activities. Then again, my father had one year of college and was a skilled laborer yet lived until age 90 after being diagnosed at age 86.
This initial study took ten years to identify the variables with a specific population. We need to be patient … very patient considering the average lifespan of a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is 8 to 20 years.
Paragraph 8 is interesting (click on article link at end of this article): two 68-year old patients have mini mental status scores one number apart, yet subtle differences mean each will progress with Alzheimer’s at different rates.
I expected the media to be all over this, but since its publication three months ago, Google Alerts has sent me one other article about predicting the length of time one is expected to live with Alzheimer’s.
It’s scary to think researchers will be able to predict lifespan with Alzheimer’s this way. On the one hand, it can allow us to better plan for the onset of incontinence, nursing home placement, and even death when caring for a loved one; yet there can be a sinister side to knowing.
And pardon the graphic language, but, we’re screwed once insurers apply these variables to further refine actuarial tables.
Click to read “New Method Predicts Time from Alzheimer’s Onset to Nursing Home, Death” –it’s definitely worth your time.
Thank you, Mary Barrass for sharing this article.