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Alzheimer’s is a Family Disease – New Drug Offers Hope to Families Like Mine

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By Jim Hoft

Published June 8, 2021 at 8:00am

Alzheimer’s is a family disease.

My father Norm grew up on a farm in Iowa. He later became a small business owner. His sister, the next oldest, was a missionary in Pakistan and Nepal. His brother was a Professor in Missouri who taught graduate students engineering. His younger brother was a NASA scientist. His sister was a missionary to Brazil and his little brother worked for the EPA in Washington DC. The youngest brother who had Down Syndrome died early. My father and every other sibling besides his youngest brother died from Alzheimer’s disease.

A Family Disease in Three Generations: Those in color died from Alzheimer’s disease.



The Hoft family at the farm in Iowa, circa 1950’s: My grandfather who is sitting died from Alzheimer’s.  His six children in the top row (in color) died from Alzheimers.  Their spouses are next to them in the photo (in black and white).  My older siblings and first cousins are up front.  My sister in blue dress and older brother Bud in T-shirt died from Alzheimer’s.  That’s three generations touched by the disease – so far.

Those in color died from Alzheimer’s.

My grandfather, died from Alzheimer’s disease.



My brother Bud who was much older than my brothers and myself was in the Air Force. Bud died from Alzheimer’s in 2017.

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My sister Sue died from Alzheimer’s this year.

Alzheimer’s disease can be traced back in my family to a distant relative. She brought Alzheimer’s with her into the family tree.

We have second and third cousins who do not suffer from the disease.

On Monday the FDA approved the first major Alzheimer’s treatment in 18 years.  The drug Aduhelm will be available to slow the progression of the debilitating disease in patients with early symptoms.

United Press International reported:

The drug aducanumab has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, agency officials said Monday.

The drug, marketed under the brand name Aduhelm and manufactured by drugmaker Biogen, is the first to be approved for the debilitating form of dementia since 2003, according to the agency.

It has been green-lighted over the objections of some experts — including the FDA’s own Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee, which rejected the drug last November — who argue that there is insufficient evidence that it helps patients with the disease, the agency acknowledged.

The drug could carry a cost somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000 per patient per year, according to Wall Street analysts, though Biogen has yet to announce a price.

What do you think?

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