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Lessons about Alzheimer's disease
Nature News ^ | 5 August 2011 | Gwyneth Dickey Zakaib

Posted on 08/09/2011 1:06:58 PM PDT by neverdem

Psychologist Margaret Gatz explains what 25 years of research have taught her about reducing the risk of dementia.

Margaret Gatz, a psychologist at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, is investigating the causes of Alzheimer's disease. To that end, she has studied the health of more than 14,000 Swedish twins for more than 25 years. On 5 August, she will tell the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington DC what the study has taught her about how to reduce risk for the disease. Nature got a preview.

What first motivated you to study Alzheimer's disease?

Before I studied aging, I was a clinical psychologist. I talked to older adults and their families, and it became clear to me that cognitive changes and memory problems were a big concern for a demographic that, at the time, was fairly neglected in terms of research. Then, when I was on a sabbatical in Stockholm, I had the opportunity to get involved with the Swedish Twin Registry, a large cohort study in which some researchers were looking at cognition. It became clear to me that some of the twins would develop dementia, and that this was a unique opportunity for a study. My lab has been working with the Swedish twins now since 1985.

What does your research show?

Somewhere in the ballpark of 70% of risk for Alzheimer's disease across a population is due to heredity. In each individual, there's some combination of genes and environment. But on average, genes have a greater influence than environment in explaining the disease.

What will be the main message from your talk at the conference?

People need to be careful not to overstate what we know about preventing Alzheimer's disease. A lot of popular press says that there are things you...

(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Testing
KEYWORDS: alzheimers; alzheimersdisease; apoe4; dementia; diabetes; health; medicine; obesity

1 posted on 08/09/2011 1:07:04 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: austinmark; FreedomCalls; IslandJeff; JRochelle; MarMema; Txsleuth; Newtoidaho; texas booster; ...
FReepmail me if you want on or off the diabetes ping list.
2 posted on 08/09/2011 1:10:26 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

I was going to place a reply to this piece, but I forgot what I was going to say. By the way, my dad died of this and my brother has it also. WHAT are you gonna do?


3 posted on 08/09/2011 1:11:36 PM PDT by Safetgiver (I'd rather die under a free American sky than live under a Socialist regime.)
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To: Safetgiver

My MIL had a form of dementia, but I don’t really think it was Alz. even tho that was the diagnosis (she didn’t really seem like everyone else I’ve ever known with it, but then, I’m not a doctor). I also have a very close friend who I grew up whose Mom just passed away who had it. It’s a terrible disease. A *cure* would be awesome. It’s just so sad to watch people you love stolen from you a bit at a time. My condolences to you and your family and my prayers for a cure.


4 posted on 08/09/2011 1:29:07 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: brytlea

My step Grandma died of this.

Grandpa sat with her every day till she was so bad she couldn’t talk, and his health declined to the point he had a stroke. A long, horrible disease.


5 posted on 08/09/2011 1:43:55 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: neverdem

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers 10 years ago. Today he is living in an assisted living facility because of physical issues unrelated to Alzheimers.

Odd how this disease affects people differently. The disease has affected the area of my dad’s brain controlling balance, so he walks with a cane and I always have his elbow when we go out in public. At home, he usually uses a wall to keep himself on the straight path and can take some steps without weaving too much. His memory has only now begun to be affected - he is going to be 85-years old in two weeks time.

His doctor said the old guy could live for a few more years, his heart, liver, and kidneys granted. Dad reads the WSJ every day and still can comprehend what is happening in the world and nation. So basically we’re well off.


6 posted on 08/09/2011 1:47:09 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS OUR PRESIDENT!)
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To: Safetgiver

I am doomed, but eventually I know I will reach the point where I won’t even know it! I pity my kids.


7 posted on 08/09/2011 1:47:22 PM PDT by kevslisababy
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To: brytlea

I’ve seen what it does and keep a pistol handy at my nightstand. The thing that scares me is, How do you know this is Happening? I can tell stories of my Pop before this happened that would curl your hair.


8 posted on 08/09/2011 1:55:02 PM PDT by Safetgiver (I'd rather die under a free American sky than live under a Socialist regime.)
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To: redgolum

It is indeed. My FIL kept my MIL at home. It’s very tough on the caretaker(s). He died and she died less than 2 days later. The reason I am not sure she actually had Alz is that she always knew who people were, or at least she knew if she knew them, even if she had not seen them in a long time. She did not speak for years before she died and could not walk or sit, but she was awake and could eat and drink (but not feed herself). She never became combative or aggressive. Then again, it may be that it takes different paths with different people. I’m glad she didn’t get like that because he would not have been able to care for her at home if she had been mobile or like some of the other people I hear about. I guess it was a best case scenario, if you can call it that.
My condolences to you. It really is a long, horrible disease. I always hope that at least the person suffering with it doesn’t have any realization of it. My Mom had cancer and she had tumors in her brain (not Alz obviously) and one blessing was that when they started affecting her mentally, after awhile she was pretty cheerful. I’m sure it was an effect of where the tumors were, but I was glad about that, one of God’s small favors.


9 posted on 08/09/2011 2:00:46 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: Safetgiver

I don’t know how you know. And you may dodge the bullet. Genetics is not destiny. If you have a family history tho, I would take all possible avenues to eat healthy and exercise tho. And keep up with all new information on it. Of course, I don’t think the end here is the end. None of us gets out of this alive. God bless you.


10 posted on 08/09/2011 2:03:30 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: SatinDoll

Wow. Maybe my MIL really did have Alz because her issues did seem much more motor than mental (I mean she did have some mental things, but she knew who people were, for instance, altho she could not speak, which made her appear worse than she was). But she could not walk, her balance was the first thing anyone noticed.


11 posted on 08/09/2011 2:05:54 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: brytlea

While my Grandma was dying, she at first felt her mind going. Then one day she woke up and thought she was 9 years old and would tell my Grandpa stories of her day.

By the end she didn’t talk, but she was happy for a while.


12 posted on 08/09/2011 2:08:46 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: brytlea

My daughters MIL is also diagnosed with Alz .. As a nurse and an aging woman I have seen Alz and her mil has none of the classic symptoms.. when i tell them I think the diagnosis is wrong they just roll their eyes.

It seems to me they are lumping together any neurological deficiencies and calling them Alz...


13 posted on 08/09/2011 2:14:29 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: redgolum

That is typical..their mind walks backward in time..


14 posted on 08/09/2011 2:15:26 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7

My Mom had short-term memory loss, but we found out a few months before she died that her dementia (hallucinations, etc) were caused by her breast cancer medicine. When we took her off the medication - against the doctor’s desires - she was at peace. Couldn’t remember what happened an hour earlier, but no longer living in fear of people she saw in the windows.

She died a couple of months later at 85...maybe from heart failure, maybe from choking, or maybe a bit of both. She had wanted to die for several years at that point, but lacked the motor skills to do so.

IMHO, her doctor was in it for what he could get for himself, not for my Mom’s standard of living. We learned a bit late not to trust doctors too far.


15 posted on 08/09/2011 2:30:48 PM PDT by Mr Rogers ("they found themselves made strangers in their own country")
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To: neverdem

My husband has Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. He has had dementia since 2003. His aunt, who was also a nun, died from Alzheimer’s in her late eighties. Right now, he is in the latter stages. He doesn’t know me, other than as his caregiver. He is 100% dependent on my for his care. I go through periods of despair and depression, but could not bring myself to have him put in long term care, unless he became a threat to me or himself. The other day, I was trying to get him to take a shower, and he began choking me. My son got him off. He was not angry, so much as he was afraid that I was doing something bad to him.

Yesterday, I was readying him to cut his hair, and when I laid the scissors down, he tried to grab them, and stab me. Again, his intention was to save himself. He saw me as a threat. Within a few minutes of either episode, he forgot it, and became the loving person I became to know.

Today, I started making arrangements to have him put in long term care, a place within a mile of my home. It’s not a good day. His family promised that at least one person would be there every day. I am a former activity director in another nursing home, so I will be there, along with volunteering my service to the Alzheimer’s unit.

Each person with this disease has different personalities. You never know what you are going to get from day to day. Some days, they are awake and rowdy all night long, so sleeping patterns change. Other days (most of them), is like tending to a toddler who is not yet potty trained, to put it nicely. I used to think I would clean while he slept, but more often than not, I sleep, so my house isn’t bright and shiny anymore. I have become a recluse, but that is my fault. I can afford people to come here, but I don’t like leaving, perhaps out of habit?

At one point, before he became unaware, he said he felt like blowing his head off. He was a deputy, so I got rid of all his guns. But, I can’t help thinking, that if I were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s’ I would rather be dead, too. It is that horrible a disease. I feel like I’m in an Alzheimer’s group, speaking of my experience with the rotten disease.


16 posted on 08/09/2011 2:45:59 PM PDT by Jaidyn
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To: brytlea

Immediately upon diagnosis in 2001, Dad’s doctor put him on Razadine (Galantamine). The doc said this medication prevents severe dementia up until about 3-4 months before death. I give this wonder drug all the credit for keeping him somewhat normal.

Dad fell and fractured his hip 1-1/2 years ago, and he was declared incompetent then due to dementia. Stress seems to bring on ‘attacks’ of dementia; incidents such as being in pain, or finding oneself in strange surroundings such as a hospital, seems to initiate confusion.

He is doing well now and has stabilized to a level nearly identical to before fracturing his hip. This in itself is extraordinary, as only about one-third of elderly who fracture a hip survive past the following year.


17 posted on 08/09/2011 2:56:32 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS OUR PRESIDENT!)
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To: redgolum

Maybe parts of it at least, weren’t so bad.


18 posted on 08/09/2011 2:56:47 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: RnMomof7

I kind of think that’s what they do. I’ve read that the only way to really diagnose it is at autopsy (which obviously cannot be done before death). I have a friend whose husband has dementia now from Parkinsons. I didn’t realize it caused dementia. I think a lot of things do. I used to always think Alz was early onset dementia. My MIL had it for about 8 years and she was 86 when she died. Not that I wouldn’t have loved her to have lived longer and been healthy to the end, but I wouldn’t consider that early onset.


19 posted on 08/09/2011 2:59:29 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: Jaidyn

God bless you. I know it must be awful to deal with it. I dealt with it second hand (watched someone deal with it) and watched my Dad also care for my Mom with her cancer (he kept her at home). Being a full time caregiver is so hard. It is a labor of love that just wrings everything out of you.
I hope you are surrounded by a supportive family.


20 posted on 08/09/2011 3:03:41 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: SatinDoll

Praise God for modern medicine. I personally have reasons to be thankful for it myself.


21 posted on 08/09/2011 3:05:28 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: brytlea

Thank you. The hardest day was today, when I began to make arrangements. I’m hope I can do it. My family is supportive, and I have no choice. He might hurt one of my grandchildren when he feels threatened.

I think, in time, he will like his new home. After all, I will be there most days. And, I will have a life for myself, and be able to enjoy the grandkids. Just getting it off my chest makes me feel better. I wrote about it before, and a couple freepers sent me mail and cheered me up. That’s the kind of support that works best for me. I need my humor back! ;)


22 posted on 08/09/2011 3:16:48 PM PDT by Jaidyn
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To: neverdem
One of the saddest things I have ever seen was my ex sister in law suffering from early onset Alzheimer's disease. She began getting lost and not being able to find her way home when she was about 50. She is 65 now and her mind is completely gone. She doesn't speak or even open her eyes. She sits and trembles and drools and that was several years ago the last time I saw her. For all intents and purposes, she is dead except she still breathes, it breaks my heart. Her 2 daughters, my nieces, are in line to get this also because my ex SIL’s father died of the same thing.
23 posted on 08/09/2011 3:45:58 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Mr Rogers
took her off the medication - against the doctor’s desires - she was at peace

Yep, we did the same thing with my mom. She actually gathered all her tray belongings into a hankerchief and tied them on a broom like a hobo would. She was going on a trip, she said. She too was on medication for cancer....taking her off that stopped the hullucinations and fears. We could actully communicate with herin her own mind for that.

24 posted on 08/09/2011 3:55:38 PM PDT by caww
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To: neverdem

My grandparents and both my parents died from this.


25 posted on 08/09/2011 3:57:40 PM PDT by freedomtrail (EEOC- Eventual Elimination Of Caucasians)
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To: Jaidyn

I agree

May God bless you both


26 posted on 08/09/2011 3:59:02 PM PDT by Steve Newton
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To: Jaidyn

You are doing the right thing for him by making arrangements now. My Uncle saw two wifes thru Alzeimer’s. He was amazing in how he interacted with them..on their terms...When they picked flowers off the headboard he picked with them for a time. But there comes a time when it’s necessary to go the next step for their care. So try not to be hard on yourself...it really is for their good and the entire family. And you will be in much better form when you are with him...and I would chance saying if he knew what you were enduring he would have wanted you to make arrangements when the time came for.....just as you would if the situation was reversed.

May God give you much piece of heart and mind as you gingerly walk the walk before you...it is a good thing that you do now.


27 posted on 08/09/2011 4:05:35 PM PDT by caww
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To: Jaidyn

We all just have to make do with what God hands us. You are blessed to have a good place for him, and to be able to be nearby. Would’t it be nice if life were always like a movie of the week? But it’s not. It’s good that you have people around you (and that you have supportive FRiends here). <3


28 posted on 08/09/2011 4:11:16 PM PDT by brytlea (Wake me when it's over...)
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To: caww; brytlea; Steve Newton

Just reading your kind words makes me feel better. I even got a second wind, so might just do the dishes!


29 posted on 08/09/2011 5:45:36 PM PDT by Jaidyn
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To: Jaidyn

Prayers your way. You are doing the right thing for your husband and for your family. Enjoy your grandchildren, and restablish your friendships. It will get better...honest.

My m-i-l is a nursing home. She has mid late stage Alzheimers. She doesn’t recognize her two sons; and is afraid of her male grandchildren. My husband had a pretty bad heart attack last summer, and he was off work for nine weeks. During that time I went (with our 21 year old son) to visit...but she would get so upset by seeing a young man (her grandson) in her presence. She yells for ‘help.’ She always thinks I am a nurse. When I took my husband for his first visit to see his mom that upset her (not as bad as seeing her grandsons) but enough to upset my then very fragile husband. She had no idea who the strange man the ‘nurse’ brought to see her.

Your husband will receive good care; and you will not have to worry constantly what the next minute will bring.


30 posted on 08/09/2011 5:46:47 PM PDT by PennsylvaniaMom ( Barry, eat your own damn peas.)
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To: SatinDoll

Are you sure he doesn’t have an acoustic neuroma? I have one and those symptoms sound very like what I have. They of course hope that you die before the symptoms disable you.

I had proton radiation treatment at Loma Linda University, and they assured me the growth had been arrested. My feeling is that they didn’t slow it down much.

Two different ENT specialists missed the disease even though I described the symptoms exactly. I had a great GP that found it. Oh well life don’t get easier as you get older.


31 posted on 08/09/2011 6:35:58 PM PDT by itsahoot (--I will still vote for Sarah Palin, even if I have to write her in.--No more traitors.)
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To: neverdem

Please Post the results

Thanks

TT


32 posted on 08/09/2011 6:37:45 PM PDT by TexasTransplant (Radical islam is real islam. Moderate islam is the trojan horse.)
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To: itsahoot

Dad has had several brain scans, the most recent being last December. This scan I was able to view, and the areas most affected are, indeed, the areas of the brain concerning motor control.

No sign of any tumors.


33 posted on 08/09/2011 7:07:16 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS OUR PRESIDENT!)
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To: neverdem

My story: My wife is a 61 year old female who developed a blood clot in her left leg 3 years ago while waiting in labor and delivery for the birth of our first grandchild. She was started on coumadin (after lovenox injections). She immediately got a headache and mental confusion. We thought she had a bleed from the thinners, so rushed her to the medical center. She cleared her headache and had negative scans so thought all was well. Gradually I noticed that her short term memory was not what it used to be. I would tell her something and would notice that she would go to a calender and write it down, and then would still forget whatever meeting or activity that was written down. She had just retired from 35 years as an elementary school teacher. Next I started getting messages from her friends telling me that she had near-accidents and other erratic behavior. I took her back to a neurologist and had her evaluated for sleep apnea (she had it). We attributed her symptoms to apnea and hooked her up to the machine at night with no improvement. She has gradually gone down hill and now can not balance her check book, type, play the piano, or remember any recent events. I have had her to multiple specialists and even to Duke University to their memory clinic where multiple testing including pet scans shows changes in the temporal areas of the brain consistent with “early onset alzheimers”. I have noted a marked downward trend in the last 6 months and dread the day when I have to place her in some type of adult daycare of assisted living.


34 posted on 08/09/2011 7:32:19 PM PDT by contrarian (proud new monthly contributor.)
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To: PennsylvaniaMom

Thank you! Your story is so sad! My husband is the opposite. He talks to everyone, even strangers. Of course, no one can understand what he is saying. A few months ago, I had surgery, and took him to a nursing home for three days. He thought it was a motel, and went from room to room chatting with everyone as though they were old friends. I don’t know how he will be this time, because he’s deteriorated the past month. I need to remember that he is not suffering, but his loved ones hurt. As a matter-of-fact, he’s mostly happy. Let your husband know that.


35 posted on 08/09/2011 7:58:08 PM PDT by Jaidyn
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To: kevslisababy

My dad, both uncles and my aunt died from Alzheimer’s. I’m approaching 60. How do you think I feel?


36 posted on 08/09/2011 8:18:06 PM PDT by irishtenor (Everything in moderation, however, too much whiskey is just enough... Mark Twain)
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To: neverdem

Can I get on your list, please? Thanks.

TC


37 posted on 08/09/2011 8:26:28 PM PDT by I_be_tc
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To: neverdem

The #1 risk factor for Alzheimer’s, most cancers, heart disease, and many other diseases? Getting old! So, my advice to everyone is to find the fountain of youth ASAP. Otherwise, we are all going to die of something, most of us before we reach 90.


38 posted on 08/09/2011 9:35:19 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX ( The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else. ~)
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To: Safetgiver
By the way, my dad died of this and my brother has it also. WHAT are you gonna do?

I'm sorry reading about your father and brother. I try to study it. My mother has a vascular dementia. I'm a family practice doc.

Alzheimer's Detected 20 Years before Symptoms Show

Alzheimer's blood test 'most accurate' so far

Is Alzheimer's Disease Written in Blood?

39 posted on 08/09/2011 9:54:21 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Jaidyn

You have to do what you have to do. Don’t dwell on it. You have my sympathy.


40 posted on 08/09/2011 10:15:31 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: freedomtrail
My grandparents and both my parents died from this.

You have my sympathy. Pay attention to developments, your health and good luck.

41 posted on 08/09/2011 10:34:35 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: SatinDoll

Hopefully he won’t get worse, we old f@rts hang on, because we had practice.

To find my neuroma required an MRI, double contrast dye. CT scan didn’t show it. Either way I wish him the best. We are all on our way home, I just don’t want to rush the trip. {:-)

I have had a good life, probably enjoyed more freedom in my life time than most on FR, but it distresses me to see us abandon our role and leave no place for those yearning to be free, to escape to.

A problem I can’t fix.


42 posted on 08/09/2011 10:44:34 PM PDT by itsahoot (--I will still vote for Sarah Palin, even if I have to write her in.--No more traitors.)
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To: contrarian

You have my sympathy.


43 posted on 08/09/2011 10:48:15 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: itsahoot

Good luck to you. You have the right attitude, that is for sure. Each of us has only so much time, so many heartbeats, I don’t understand why anyone would cut it short OR rush the trip, as you say.


44 posted on 08/09/2011 11:20:06 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS OUR PRESIDENT!)
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To: irishtenor

doomed


45 posted on 08/10/2011 5:12:06 AM PDT by kevslisababy
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Beware of a thread of many very sad comments.

Alzheimer's blood test 'most accurate' so far

Sleep apnea linked to increased risk of dementia in elderly women

Penn study shows an ancient crop effective in protecting against a 21st century hazard

Antibodies linked to long-term Lyme symptoms

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

46 posted on 08/10/2011 7:56:53 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem; DvdMom; grey_whiskers; Ladysmith; Roos_Girl; Silentgypsy; conservative cat; ...

Ping

Thanks, neverdem.


47 posted on 08/10/2011 8:12:34 AM PDT by decimon
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To: redgolum
My mother thought I was her husband . . . and, later, her father.

48 posted on 08/11/2011 2:47:22 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (DRAFT PALIN)
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