An interesting article appeared in The Tangled Neuron recently entitled “What's the Best Alzheimer's Care? Disappointing Results from a French Study.” (Find it by clicking the title or it or the Tangled Neuron both in hypertext)
The article starts with the following summary statement:
A recent French clinical trial found that a standardized special care plan at memory clinics did not help people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s maintain functionality.
This result comes as no surprise. The overall reason in my view is this:
Attempting to prescribe uniformly for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) when the last thing it can be called is uniform. In its manifestation in the persons having it is infinitely variable. There are as many kinds of AD as there are people who have it. Each person having it is in a different stage of it from day to day, different from all others bearing a similar diagnosis.
Uniformity is the giant fault of our modern data dependent culture that needs to classify before it can concern itself with anything. I call this the sin of “Homogenization!” Like the inverse of Murphy’s law we homogenize all or our programs into their lowest denominator of ineffectiveness.
Treatment of AD, particularly in the Early Stage of it, when a person can be kept there longer by it, needs to be measured by the positive response of the person getting it. Does the patient respond? Does it help? Does it improve? That which works is what should by utilized.
Reducing treatment to a data friendly consistent formula decreases its possibility of being effective. Homogenization is the inverse of efficacy.
In its classification process while decentralizing treatment modality we ought to centralize diagnostic criteria. We should broaden the class of symptoms so more fits into the ambit of AD. This would force treatment to recognize difference in type of AD a person suffers by reason of the generality of what is known as AD.
It puzzles me why it seems impossible to get any positive kinds of treatment of this devastating disease. Currently there are but two modes:
1. Indifference to outright apathy of those who remain functional but classified by the mark of AD resulting from their Diagnosis. Mostly we are simply shunned.
2. Warehousing in Uniform Services from Nursing Home to Day Care, prohibitively expensive, ineffective and degrading of Human Spirit.
I often wonder if professional opinion and treatment are shackled by the “Hive Mentality” that permeate the greater part of thought process in our society. We too often are victims of “Group Think” measured with the standards invoked by the “Cult of Mediocrity.”
This is another facet of Homogenization of our Culture. We sacrifice creativity for fitting in. To be creative is to stand out, to be different, to challenge others with thoughts they would rather not think about. They would rather not think about them because they entail risk, they can’t be sure, they might be wrong. Therefore let’s stick to the tried and true and not be so silly as to doing something new.
It is more important to remain acceptable in the group as risk being shunned by reason of failure. Therefore new ideas are Verboten!
The safest course in any direction is one that has been tried before, has had some success, and even more importantly has not backfired. It is therefore nuts to do any differently than the other guy.
This is true in our culture individually, in groups, organizations, corporations, governments, groupings within each. We do what the other guy has done. We shun someone who tries something different.
This cancer infects and permeates judgment and treatment on AD. So like everything else it is the tragic victim of Homogenization.
As a result all programs and all people creating them and administrating them suffer the same thing that didn’t quite hit the mark when done before, but good enough to escape criticism. They are safe for the doer, not necessarily affective for the receiver.