The spirit of fighting Alzheimer disease


Beijing: Hu Shaozeng’s life took a U-turn after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease more than nine years ago.
“His memory is failing, and he cannot remember our wedding anniversary,” said Hu’s wife Weng Shiyin, 70. “These days, he has difficulties recognizing even family members, and he has grown increasingly confused, suspicious, gloomy and upset.”
Hu, 71, has gotten lost several times over the past few years, Weng added.
“His symptoms are getting more severe day by day, and he can barely understand what we say,” Weng said. “He has also developed mental issues such as auditory hallucinations, and he has even hit people.”
To help treat Hu, the family, who live in the county of Xianghe, north China’s Hebei Province, frequently commute between the county and Beijing, which they say boasts better medical resources. Despite some reimbursement, their drug fees amount to about 30,000 yuan (4,434 U.S. dollars) a year, in addition to transportation and medical treatment expenses.“It’s just sad,” she said. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thought capability, and the ability to carry out simple tasks. Medical experts say that at present, there is no effective drug that can cure Alzheimer’s. China observes World Alzheimer’s Day on Monday. The country has about 10 million patients suffering from the disease, the highest number of any country in the world, in addition to 31 million people struggling with mild cognitive impairment.
According to the Chinese Geriatrics Society, the number of Alzheimer’s patients in China will exceed 40 million by 2050. It is estimated that the economic burden from Alzheimer’s will reach 17 trillion yuan by 2030.–Agencies