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Tuesday, October 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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EndNotes

Alzheimer’s: do you want to know?

Former President Ronald Reagan, who was a faithful writer of love letters, is kissed by wife Nancy on his 89th birthday in 2000. (Associated Press)
Former President Ronald Reagan, who was a faithful writer of love letters, is kissed by wife Nancy on his 89th birthday in 2000. (Associated Press)

There's great buzz in Alzheimer's circles about a new brain scan technology that can detect  beta-amyloid (protein) plaques, which build up in the brain like toxic waste when you have Alzheimer's.

Before now, the plaques could be confirmed only upon autopsy. The scan isn't widely available, and it's expensive, but it still begs the question: If you had the tell-tale signs of Alzheimer's, would you want to know, since there is no cure and no treatment that does much?

Another twist: Research has shown that some people (upon autopsy) had horrible plaques but never lost their memory. Others had horrible dementia and no plaques.

(S-R archive photo of Ronald Reagan, who died of Alzheimer's) 




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.