Photo by Helena Lopes
Jack Weaver’s book about Alzheimer’s disease is about adapting to and overcoming an illness—through deep conviction and faith—that has the potential to destroy lives and relationships.
When an older relative or acquaintance starts having difficulties recalling recent events or new memories, there is always a cause for concern; together with these symptoms:
- Consistent Confusion—the person gets lost easily or cannot follow a coherent train of thought.
- Loss of Decision-Making Capabilities—the person has difficulty formulating a plan or confirming a choice.
- Speech and Language Issues—the person has trouble keeping up with a conversation, or they misuse words.
- Degeneration of Motor Skills—the person has trouble moving without assistance or lost the ability to hold on to objects.
- Abrupt Mood Changes—the person becomes angry or irritated easily or shows signs of paranoia.
These are just early signs of Alzheimer’s disease manifesting; for those diagnosed with it, there can be a palpable feeling of loss and hopelessness. For the people in their lives, it can seem like the individual they have grown to appreciate is no longer theirs; yet, it is essential to remember that the person hasn’t changed and still needs their care and appreciation.
In Jack Weaver’s book about Alzheimer’s disease, a couple continues with life and perseveres after one is diagnosed with the disorder. The Abduction of a Mind is a compelling, heartwarming, and often funny account of how Alzheimer’s can affect a person’s life and the lives of the people around them; it is a story of hope, faith, and coping with the inevitable.
A Brief History of Alzheimer’s Disease
During the 1900s, at the Frankfurt asylum, Dr. Alois Alzheimer met Auguste Deter, a 51-year-old patient, and observed that she exhibited odd behavior, including a frequent loss of short-term memory, issues with language, and the general unpredictability of her actions.
When she died, Dr. Alzheimer examined her brain and found startling anomalies, which would later become identifiers for what is now known as Alzheimer’s disease.
Although dementia was already associated with old age, it wasn’t until Dr. Alzheimer that it was identified and described as a mental disorder.
What Is Known About the Disease
Alzheimer’s disease begins slowly and invariably worsens as time goes on; it is responsible for most dementia cases, and no treatment has been discovered to prevent or cure its progression, only methods of temporary improvement.
Although its symptoms and effects have been thoroughly researched, the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still a murky subject. Its development is associated with multiple environmental and genetic factors, the most obvious of which is a history of head trauma, depression, and high blood pressure.
Age is the best factor for knowing the chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease: as people reach the age of sixty, the odds of getting diagnosed are much more likely, and although younger people can get Alzheimer’s, it is far less common.
Common Misconceptions Regarding Alzheimer’s Disease
Although it’s a leading cause of death, the specifics of Alzheimer’s disease are not widely known, and even the generalities are shrouded in heaps of misconceptions.
- Dementia is synonymous with Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia is typically associated with impaired memory and a loss of analytical reasoning, and while Alzheimer’s disease also manifests those symptoms, it is only a type of dementia.
There are other types of dementias other than Alzheimer’s disease, like frontotemporal dementia, which results from brain damage, and vascular dementia, which is due to affected blood vessels in the brain.
- Parents with Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to pass it down to their children.
While Alzheimer’s disease has been shown to have a genetic component, the likelihood of those genes expressing is not that clear-cut. A host of factors aside from genetics contribute to the disease manifesting, and it has been shown that a change in diet and exercise can prevent Alzheimer’s.
- Memory loss is Alzheimer’s disease.
Although memory problems are a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, having memory problems is not the same as having Alzheimer’s disease.