Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for No Cure

N   No Cure

Alzheimer’s disease is just one of many diseases that are currently incurable. The list is long and heartbreaking:


•ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)


•cerebral palsy

•Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

•cystic fibrosis


•Huntington’s disease



•multiple sclerosis

•muscular dystrophy



And there are many more genetic, developmental, autoimmune, mental, and other illnesses. And, although some types of cancer now can be treated successfully if caught early, it still takes far too many people.

In fact, it’s amazing, when we consider how complex the body and brain are, and how many things can possibly go wrong, that so many of us manage to live fairly healthy lives.

Medical science has worked wonders, particularly in the past century, in curing many formerly incurable diseases and finding effective treatments for others. In the case of Alzheimer’s/dementia, medications such as Aricept and Namenda have been developed that can slow down the symptoms, but they do not cure the disease.

But science, like every other human endeavor, needs support—and that means money. Money for research into medical and palliative treatments, to develop new technologies to help people afflicted with some of these conditions, and someday, hopefully, to find cures.

That’s why I’m challenging everyone reading this to take a small part in helping to eradicate these diseases.

Maybe you have friends or loved ones afflicted, or just have an interest in one of the conditions. Mental health has been a personal cause for me for a while now, and I’ve been a supporter of the Menninger psychiatric research clinic for several years. Now I’ve come to focus on Alzheimer’s/dementia because of what my mother is going through. I took part in a fundraising campaign last fall, and I now make an automatic monthly donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s a small effort on my part but it’s meaningful, as it helps them to know they count on a certain amount of money coming in regularly.

Imagine how much could be done if everyone chose just one disease that has somehow had an impact on his or her life and made a commitment to support research on that disease in any way possible. It could be as little as a five-dollar donation if that’s all you can afford. The important thing is to do something. It’ll make you feel good, and you'll be making an important contribution to the world.

So when that next solicitation letter or phone call from a foundation supporting medical research comes, please think for a moment before throwing it out or hanging up the phone. A little bit really can make a difference.

So what diseases have affected your life? Which one will you choose to support research in?


  1. Thanks for the post, and I promise to walk or run in the next walkathon or marathon for breast cancer. : )

  2. What a touching and timely post. Is there anyone who has NOT been affected, either personally or in the family, by these diagnoses? Being proactive and helping organizations that invest in cures is what we do.

  3. I have walked for the Alzheimer's foundation, for MS, and have worked to put community support together for many, many types of disorders, and diseases. My personal interest, is in brain trauma.

  4. Investing in mental health research is investing in our own future. Who knows what breakthrough may happen tomorrow, because we gave scientists the funds to find out more?

  5. I've supported research for heart disease, diabetes, leukemia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and a couple of others. Right now, I can't, although I will again in time. Very eloquent post.


  6. During my life, I've seen cures being developed for previously incurable illnesses, and I hope and pray the next generation will see cures being developed for today's incurables.

  7. I have Alzheimer's in my family. It scares me to death! Hey, did you hear the news today? They found a correlation between newborn head size and autism. Might be a way to use that to help cure or treat it. Fingers crossed!

    I'm a new follower via the A to Z. Nice to meet you, Elaine!

  8. Lovely post. Steps are taken daily to prolong lives and find cures. Hopefully the day will come when the incurables will be no more.


  9. Really good post for awareness Elaine. We have various causes taht we support throughout the year. Although not a "disease", traumatic brain injury is an important place for our resources due to my mom's accident. I would hope that sometime in our lifetime we will see some cures for the diseases you highlighted in today's post.

  10. I've been lucky that my entire family has avoided anything on that list! But that doesn't mean I don't do anything I can to help eliminate them!! :)