Within a year of Fran's first noticeable symptoms, another sister began showing signs of chronic memory loss. Having watched their mother's incapacities emerge, the Noonans recognized the signs -- "the changes in personality, the focusing on little hurts and not getting beyond them, the paranoia, the forgetfulness, and that blank look" -- in the words of an older sister, Pat. Because of their mother, their "antennae" were always up. A grieving was setting in that would go "on and on. We would find ourselves continually revisiting our losses," notes Pat. Many would seek counseling for the depression they felt. They were realizing that since there was no escape, they wanted to mount an offensive. It might have been different if theirs was the only generation facing Alzheimer's. But between them, they had twenty-two children and one grandchild, with numerous other grandchildren on the way, all of whom would be just as vulnerable. It was due to their children's fate, and the children to follow, that they decided to contribute their DNA to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital. Their blood samples might help set their family free.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Decoding Darkness:The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease. Contributors: Rudolph E. Tanzi - Author, Ann B. Parson - Author. Publisher: Perseus Publishing. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 206.
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