Early detection remains the best treatment of Alzheimer’s
As soon as she noticed the small signs that her husband’s memory was slipping, Carolyn and John Perrygo were sitting in a doctor’s office, charting a path forward. “We weren’t going to put our head in the sand on this,” says Carolyn.
More than a century after it was first discovered, early detection remains the best defense against Alzheimer’s and dementia. There is no cure, and the four drugs to treat it that have survived the Food and Drug Administration’s stringent approval process are only moderately effective against it, according to Dr. Marilyn Albert, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins and director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience.
However, with early detection, the disease can be treated sooner, and the chances for a better outcome increase. “I am optimistic,” Albert said. “We have learned so much about the disease. Now, we are finally getting the resources to learn more.”
Since John’s diagnosis, the Perrygos have tried to live as normally as possible, and they plan to resume their ambitious traveling schedule as soon as coronavirus restrictions allow for it. “We don’t slow down,” Carolyn said. “We are not going to let this thing change us, unless it requires us to change.”
“I have Alzheimer’s. I didn’t do anything wrong to get it. And I don’t hide it,” says John. “Instead, I tell everyone I know or meet. And then they are aware that I may not remember things we have discussed. Being open also helps counteract the stigma about it and may help someone else get the help that they need.”