Biogen, a Massachusetts drug company, has announced the results of a recent trial of aducanumab. Although it’s early days yet, the drug appears to slow down cognitive decline in people at high risk of Alzheimer’s Disease or who are already on the cusp of exhibiting symptoms. But it’s important to remember that the drug, at best, will merely slow down the disease for a time.
One important use for aducanumab might be to allow people at the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s to buy some time to end their lives while they are still competent. One of the huge challenges of Alzheimer’s is that it robs people early on of the capacity to make a plan and carry it out. Once you are diagnosed, it might already be too late. For those of us who would rather end our own lives than go through the protracted nightmare of Alzheimer’s, the difficulty is in pinpointing the right time to die. A drug like aducanumab might allow me to wait until I come right up to the edge of the disease, take the drug to slow down the progress and give me a little time, so that I can end my life before it’s too late.