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All of the normal triggers for Alzheimer’s don’t apply to my case.

Earlier I reported back on my thoughts on an article which appeared in The Eye, April 2015. It  revolved around a piece of work currently undertaken at Duke University in North Carolina,  which examined new ground being broken in trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, by way of finding a potential cause, which could be along the lines of infections which have affected the brain.

What I now wanted to do is to talk a little bit about my own personal experience. I was  diagnosed at the age of 54 with dementia, and the form of dementia which I have is Alzheimer’s.  Now all of the normal triggers if you like for Alzheimer’s don’t apply to my case. I was only 54 so  age which is the biggest risk factor wasn’t the reason why I have it. Secondly my diet is very  good, I don’t drink very much, I don’t smoke, I keep reasonably fit, both mentally and physically.  I did do a reasonably stressful job by way of a head teacher and a primary school advisor, but I  seem to thrive on the stress, so I don’t think that was a terribly big factor in my onset of  Alzheimer’s.  

What I did have, for a period of about two or three years prior to diagnosis, was a series of  infections which affected various parts of my body – waterworks, nasal area, sinuses, thyroid  was up the creek. And generally speaking I went through a period of being not terribly well, but  still planning on working most of the time. I did have an operation on my sinuses, which  seemed, on the surface, to have maybe helped. And we wondered, Rosemary and I, my wife, wondered, if maybe the infections which affected my head had possibly affected my brain as  well. And that possibly my story links into that of those who are being studied within this piece of  work. 

For so long the researchers have gone up the certain avenue along amyloid entangles and  plaques, but now maybe this is going to open up a new door which will help people coming  through and those of us who perhaps have developed Alzheimer’s through this route. 

An audi version of this blog is available at: https://soundcloud.com/dementia-diaries/keith-1-nottingham-uni


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Karen Harrison Dening

The OPAL programme (Identifying And Addressing Shared Challenges In Conducting Health And Social Care Research For Older People) was supported by The Newton Fund Researcher Links and funded by the British Council and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).

Farai Pfende

Becoming a dementia friendly organisation is no longer about satisfying some altruistic need or Community Social Responsibility policy. It is a matter of complying with equality legislation.

Tom Dening

The somebody is Wendy Mitchell as she was before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 58. She was a highly active, well-organised NHS manager with a responsible job, able to deal with nursing rotas for a hospital in her head.