Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s share similarities in the damage they cause to a human brain. Both diseases show symptoms years after the actual onset of the illness. Although people with the memory loss of Alzheimer’s and the physical problems of Parkinson’s look different, a growing body of research suggests that their biological damage is quite similar.
The Michael Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the Alzheimer’s Association and the W. Garfield Weston Foundation of Canada, announced that together, they will offer joint research grants to find similarities as well as the differences between these degenerative diseases and continue their search for a cure.
When trying to handle Alzheimer’s in my family, I learned that medications do improve symptoms, but not cure, as to date, there is no medication to affect the course of the disease. By collaborating on research, scientists might gain insights that will lead to earlier diagnosis and a more targeted treatment.
Alzheimer’s is characterized by memory loss, personality change and the declining ability to plan or perform the functions of daily life. It usually strikes people in their 70’s or 80’s although genetic mutations can lead to earlier onset.
I noticed that there were people who stopped living when their spouse was affected with Alzheimer’s. They no longer kept open homes and stopped inviting people over mainly because they were embarrassed about their spouse’s changed behavior, alienating themselves from activities they had previously enjoyed.