The unforgiving minute

Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, recently wrote: “The long, slow death from dementia may be the most awful as you are slowly erased, but then again when death comes it may be just a light kiss” [1]. Before it takes your body, dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, steals away your mind and your memories – the part of you that is you – until in the end death can only be a relief. In high-income countries, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are among the top 4 causes of death, accounting for 42 deaths per 100,000 people in 2012 [2]. While these numbers are still far from the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, they are still substantially higher than for breast cancer (16 deaths per 100,000). Yet breast cancer has its own pink awareness ribbon (sharing it only with abdominal cancer), whereas Alzheimer’s disease is…

In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett