There was a deeply jarring article in the New York Times earlier this week that told the story of an extended Colombian family with unprecedented rates of early-onset Alzheimer’s. How their incredible suffering might hold the key for discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s is the subject of the article.
Young people in this family grow up knowing they have an equal chance of being stricken by Alzheimer’s in their 40s… and if not, they are very likely to become caretakers for siblings, spouses, and even their own children. But this predictability of Alzheimer’s is what makes this family a good testing ground for preventative medications.
I encourage you to read it and watch the accompanying video. It’s a heartbreaking story about a one small corner of the globe whose suffering may, ultimately, do the world a great service.
Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/health/02alzheimers.html?hp