There is scientific knowledge. And there is public perception. And often, the two collide.
Nowhere is this reality more explicit than with the current state of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research. Scientists hypothesize, but cannot definitively prove, that tangles of tau protein and build-ups of beta-amyloid plaque contribute to the hallmark cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease. There is no specific test for the disease, no defining treatment, and no reliable yardstick to measure its progression.
Without a definitive cause or diagnosis – and no cure in sight – many aging adults see no reason to assess their risk, or determine their cognitive status, if little can be done to stave off the disease.