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Alzheimers: The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

By Samantha (Sam) Leslie and Isabelle (Izzy) O’Toole, VI Form

Alzheimers: The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

Editor’s Note: This study was made possible by the Class of 1986 V Form Fellowship. At their 25th reunion, the Class of 1968 created a fund to provide grants to V Form students for independent study during the school year or, more commonly, during the summer between V and VI Forms. Their intent in establishing this fund was to reward independent thinking, ingenuity, and planning and to encourage the student exploring non-traditional fields of inquiry or using non-traditional methods of investigation.

Through talking with various doctors, caretakers, and volunteers, we learned the different ways that a person can delay or progress Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  One of the first people we talked to was a man who had years of volunteer and caretaker experience, and his biggest takeaway was that each case is different, so it is hard to tell what will work with each patient.  We heard similar answers as we talked with various doctors and caretakers, but some of the more common ways to delay Alzheimer’s include diet, exercise, and pharmaceuticals. There are also many ways in which a person can progress Alzheimer’s such as drugs and alcohol, sleep patterns, and diet (Rowlett).  Regardless of these lifestyle choices, some people will still get Alzheimer’s at an early age or old age, and it will progress faster in certain patients. Having a good caretaker and staying social is a big key to staying happy and connected after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis (Lynch).