«What does it mean to assist an Alzheimer’s patient? Love!”. “I always thought that an Alzheimer’s patient was the one who doesn’t remember where the keys are, now I understand that he’s the one who doesn’t remember what the keys are for.” Phrases from the film Paolo Ruffini PerdutaMente, in which the author from Livorno, known to the general public for his overwhelming comic streak, tackles the theme of this disease with great delicacy. Paolo Ruffini talks to Il Tempo della Salute about his commitment to this topic. With him the professor Camillo Marrapresident of SINdem, autonomous association belonging to Sin (Italian Society of Neurology) for dementia; Paola BarbarinoCEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International and Annarita Patriarcaof the Social Affairs Commission and president of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Neurosciences and Alzheimer’s of the Chamber of Deputies.
Paolo Ruffini confesses that he had not personally met any Alzheimer’s patients before shooting the film but that he was driven by the desire to give a delicate caress to patients and their families. «We have collected the testimony of 15 families and brought out the empathic emotion, the compassion towards pain. We saw unconditional love and discovered that you cannot heal from love, just as you cannot heal from Alzheimer’s. Illness never ends, just like love and this is where the cure, the desire to make oneself available becomes something fundamental”
Camillo Marra reels off alarming data. In Italy there are 1 million and 200 thousand people with dementia, 600 have Alzheimer’s. Another 600 thousand people have cognitive problems that have not yet been identified. «They are needed early therapeutic approaches– points out – . If you intervene in initial stages of the disease the clinical history may change. Until now we have had a nihilistic attitude of contemplation. But today we know the pathogenetic mechanisms of the disease and perhaps in the next few months we will have drugs available to target accumulation mechanisms of Tau protein or beta amyloid. However, the drugs were found to be effective only in the early stages of the disease, which is why we need to strengthen the aspect of early diagnosis.” Prevention remains crucial because fight the risk factors of the disease such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes can greatly reduce the risk of the onset of neurodegenerative disease.
To identify who is really at risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease, it will be necessary to organize the health services of the country with instrumental investigations that must be available to all. Paola Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International lists the examples of various countries such as Japan, South Korea and Costa Rica that have organized themselves with local assistance to address a problem that will not go away. «The latest data tells us that in 2050 in Italy there will be 2.3 million people affected by dementia. The disease has suffered from stigma for many years and it is nice that some Italian deputies and senators are getting involved.”
It’s the honorable one Annarita Patriarca who tells how theparliamentary intergroup that unites left and right (former Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin in the Senate). Covid and international wars make the economic picture even more complex «but difficulties cannot stop us. We are trying to refinance the Alzheimer’s fund. Science gives us signs that it is possible to slow down the progression of the disease, but it also tells us that an early diagnosis is needed. Politics cannot lag behind when science moves forward. We must be prepared. The entire population must have access to medicineswhen they arrive, and not just those who live in certain regions, with the same clear, uniform and homogeneous guidelines for all our regional health systems.”
November 10, 2023 (changed November 10, 2023 | 4:01 pm)
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