Broken Connections Part 1 by Emile Franssen

By Emile Franssen

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He is like a ship adrift at sea. All his links become broken. Only demonstrations of affection and attachment, the nonmaterial and the timeless, continue to retain their significance for him. Alzheimer’s disease is a protracted illness in which there is no improvement, only deterioration. There is still no cure but the suffering can be significantly alleviated. During the course of the illness it becomes increasingly difficult to get into contact with the patient and thus be able to share his experiences.

In order to gain insight into the changed behavior of the patient, it is not only necessary to have information on the nature and the course of the disease, but also to be familiar with the previous history and personality of the individual patient. The pathological process causes changes in the brain and that leads to the phenomena which occur according to a certain pattern. Knowledge of this process provides insight into the way in which the patient’s perception of his environment differs from that of the healthy person.

When there are more people in the group most at risk for the occurrence of the disease, then it is understandable that it is more prevalent. In the second place it is now possible to make the diagnosis with much more certainty than was previously the case. The clinical picture of the disease has now been well described. It is true that the cause of the disease is not yet known and that there is still no blood test by which the diagnosis can be established with absolute certainty. But with the aid of modern neuro-imaging techniques other causes of the dementia syndrome can be more easily identified.

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