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LETTER: Hoping for best with new treatment

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Letter to the Editor

At 62 years old, I was diagnosed with younger onset dementia. Later, this became Lewy Bodies Disease and most recently changed to Alzheimer’s. Through this ever-changing journey, I have been blessed with the support of Cheryll - my wonderful wife and care partner. Together, we navigate the daily challenges of this disease.

Since we know we can’t cure this disease by ourselves, advocacy has been a way for us to have a hand in getting closer to that day so our children and grandchildren will not have to fight this disease the way that we are now. Recently, we took a major step in that direction.

Last month, the FDA approved a new drug, aducanumab (Aduhelm) for people early in the dementia journey. It’s the first FDA-approved therapy to potentially delay some of the disease damage.

The approval of aducanumab represents hope for the future. This drug isn’t perfect. It doesn’t cure the disease, more data about the impact and side effects is needed, and the cost is high. I hope policymakers will be able to collaborate with the drug company and private payers to ensure access to this new drug for those who need it.

Thanks to the support of my U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, Congressman Rodney Davis and State Senator Doris Turner who have helped to bring us this far. I know the prospect for much more is on the horizon. But this drug is an important first step. Now people who get an early diagnosis have an option to slow the progression of this disease.

So for me, today is a hopeful day. A day where I can see a future without Alzheimer’s.

Larry Tate, Decatur

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