In a recent study, a team of scientists has argued that war metaphors can cause more harm in the end for patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Bioethics, wrestles with the vast ramifications of using warfare-related metaphors for Alzheimer’s Disease patients stating that such wording might lead, in the end, to feelings of fear, anxiety, and even to stigma.
Daniel R. George, an assistant professor of medical humanities, argues that this type of wording has been specifically designed as to rally people to a cause, but the effect might be the opposite. The professor states that such a discourse can divert critically important resources from other studies.
Thus, instead of using war metaphors and words related to war such as “battle”, “victory”, “battlefield”, the associate professor proposes that we use words such as “slow down”, “postpone”, and “resilience.” The professor’s attitude towards patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease may seem a bit ruthless, but the reality proves that we are nowhere closer to cracking the puzzle.
To further enforce their point of view, the professor and his associates stated in the study that warfare-related metaphors would be more appropriately to use when describing pathogens such as viruses or bacteria.
Another solid argument for using resilience metaphors instead of war-related ones is that the Alzheimer’s Disease is related to the aging process, that cannot be stopped or cured, just delayed. Associate Professor George declared that the misuse of such powerful language could ultimately result in giving patients and their caregiver a false sense of hope.
Meanwhile, while George and his team wrestles with bioethics, medical researchers committed to curing Alzheimer’s Disease have reached a dead-end. While some argue that the only way to cure the disease is by directly targeting the beta-amyloid plaques, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease, other are some circumspect stating that the plaques may not be the ones causing the damage but another symptom of the disease.
Furthermore, the other scientists said that by attempting to target and destroy these formations systematically we would cause more harm than good since the compound has a vital role in the brain’s self-repair process.
Moreover, it would also seem that beta-amyloid build-ups have only been detected in one-third of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease – a relevant aspect that enforces their theory.
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