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BellaOnline's Geriatrics Editor


Alzheimer Disease: One Young Person's Struggle

Guest Author - A. Maria Hester, M.D.

Alzheimer disease is well-documented among individuals in their later years of life. However, some individuals develop this condition much earlier in life. Below is an interview with Michael Ellenbogen, one such individual.

Q:How old were you when you first started developing symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease?

A: I started having symptoms at age 39.

Q: How long did it take doctors to recognize what was going on with you?

A: Unfortunately it took 10 years, till age 49 to be diagnosed.

Q: What were your symptoms?

A: There were many symptoms and they continue to increase as I get older. I will share some of my examples at the early stages, within the first few years.

∑ Went to use copier and spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make a double copy.

∑ Hesitated to dial numbers on phone

∑ Need to use full concentration in order to listen to choices for voicemail; didn't always understand and needed to call back to make choices.

∑ Had problems figuring out what key to push for certain functions on my organizer

∑ As I am talking I forget to say some words or forget altogether what I was going to say.

∑ I forget to do personal things that I need to do, like call a doctor or other persons.

∑ When some people speak to me I feel that I am looking at them from far away and their surrounding is out of focus and I have lots of trouble understanding what they are saying.

∑ Anything that seems to be just a little complicated gets me very frustrated and I usually do something else if I can. My wife was giving me directions to a location and I couldnít understand at all.

∑ I have trouble giving technical advice to my staff on technical problems. I am confused and donít remember. I was very good in my field for all type of problems.

∑ Sometimes my staff is late in providing me with things and I am not sure if I just donít remember.

∑ I read magazine articles a second time and donít realize it until I am in the middle or end of article. I guess I wouldnít know if I forgot the whole article and reread it again.

∑ I watch TV movies a second time and I have the feeling that I may have seen it before but donít know until my wife tells me I did already see it. Sometimes parts of the movie may look a little familiar. I would never watch a movie a second time before.

Q: Does anyone in your family have Alzheimer's?

A: Doctors feel my grandfather may have had it, but it was not diagnosed back then. He was placed in an institution and died around 56.

Q: How can people help this very worthy cause and how can people learn more about your journey?

A: Itís very important for people to realize all of the items in 5, but even more important they need to know that this is not related to old age. Many young people get this debilitating disease. The youngest on record is 21. There is someone 25 today in the forum. If more people know this I would think they would want to help an do something about it.

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Content copyright © 2018 by A. Maria Hester, M.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by A. Maria Hester, M.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Patricia Villani, MPA, PhD for details.


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