Riskier work urged as 'safe' Alzheimer's tests fall short written in USA Today looks at the amount of risk that patients, and families of Alzheimer's patients, are willing to take in the pursuit of new treatments. Alzheimer's is a fatal disease with no cure at this time. Riskier methods of treatment are tolerated by patients and families when cancer is discovered, but at this time there is no widespread invasive means to combat the effects of Alzheimer's disease, although both can prove equally deadly. One of the problems with Alzheimer's is the patient's lack of ability to consent to experimental research. One of the terrible truths about Alzheimer's disease is that it steals the patient's minds rendering them unable to reason, and therefore, unable to give an informed answer whether or not they would choose to participate in taking the experimental drug, or undergoing experimental surgery. This decision is then left to the family. This question is devisive, however, because some family members may be willing to try new means, while others may not be willing to tolerate the potential side effects of the research.
Further compounding this problem is the discovery that family members would be more willing to undergo treatment personally, sometimes potentially very painful or deadly treatment, but much less more likely in allowing a family member to undergo such procedures. Another problem is how to even quantify the risk level involved. It was asked what "risk" even meant. Does it merely mean pain? Or something more terrible, including premature death? Some also criticize the slow speed at which treatments are even evaluated. Ultimately the research must continue if there is any hope in combating this deadly disease. The scientists researching the new treatment methods are not responsible for what patients and patient's families are willing to tolerate. That decision, like before, will remain solely in the hands of the family.