DISEASE AND MEMORIES

My father died of Alzheimer's, and my mother has disappeared into vascular dementia. Michael Leahy's "The Test" [January 12] was the best article I have ever read about what it is like to lose a parent this way. It brought back memories of leaning in toward my parents, listening to the disjointed mumbling, trying to understand what they wanted to say, and yet not being able to make sense of it. This is a sadness you do not get over.

Virginia Rhodes Nuta

Montgomery Village

"The Test" was an unflinching look into the devastation Alzheimer's wreaks on families. Michael Leahy may rightly be afraid of developing the disease, but the test he puts himself through -- because of his fear of not remembering names, etc. -- is not an indicator for Alzheimer's. The real trouble comes if he doesn't realize that he can't remember.

Carol Siegel

Alexandria

Michael Leahy includes insightful comments about the research community. In fact, medical scientists today are approaching a consensus regarding the pivotal step in initiation of the brain disease; as a result, the development of breakthrough treatments is under way. In addition to adequate research funding, participation in research studies by patients and their families will accelerate this process.

Paul S. Aisen

Georgetown University Medical Center

Washington

Michael Leahy's article will become required reading for our students on the subject of Alzheimer's. His attention to detail, in telling his mother's story, is remarkable. No textbook could provide a more human as well as thoroughly researched discussion of this topic.

Andrew J. Carle

Program in Assisted Living Administration

George Mason University

Fairfax

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