Has medical science really advanced? Why is there no cure for these diseases yet?
The medical science has advanced greatly but until now, the scientists and doctors have failed to discover a reliable cure for these common, yet mysterious diseases listed below. These illnesses hamper the lives of the affected individuals and prevent them from leading a normal, happy life. Check out the list of these incurable diseases and the mystery behind each of them that is yet to be unravelled.
1 Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as the motor neuron disease or the Lou Gehrig’s disease, has no known cure. In 90-95% of the cases, no clear cause has been identified. ALS is characterized by progressive degeneration and eventual death of the neurons in the brain and spinal cord leading to the brain’s inability to control muscle movement. Persons with ALS suffer from muscle twitching, stiff muscles and other similar problems caused by muscle wasting. Eventually the patient finds it difficult to execute simple tasks like swallowing, chewing and may become bedridden.
The first symptoms usually appear in people between the ages of 40 and 50. After the onset of the ailment, the life expectancy of the patient averages about 3-4 years. There is no known cure, but the damage may be delayed with the help of Riluzole tablets. In the United States, the incidence of ALS is 2 per 100,000 individuals each year. The renowned scientist and physicist Stephen Hawking has been living with ALS for the past half a century. Although he is now completely confined to the wheelchair, he remains one of world’s greatest physicists and scientists.
2 Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disease that was earlier presumed to be age-related. However, modern research revealed that many younger people in their thirties and forties also from this brain disorder. In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth major cause of death and is the third most prominent cause of death among the elderly following cancer and heart disease.
The progression of brain damage in Alzheimer patients is slow. Scientists say it may take over a decade before the symptoms like memory loss or other cognitive health problems become evident. The advancement in brain imaging techniques has helped the scientists to learn about the extent of brain damage in patients with Alzheimer’s. The scientists are conducting continuous research to identify the causes and the cure for this strange disorder but they have yet to succeed.
3 Progeria Disease
Many parents can’t wait for their children to grow up fast but parents need to be careful what they wish for because they will surely regret it if their child gets affected by a rare genetic disorder called progeria. Children with progeria grow at a very rapid pace. By the age of 12 or 13, they may have already developed some distinctive physical characteristics of an adult like wrinkled skin, bald head, and skinny body due to loss of body fat. They may also suffer from elderly-related diseases like hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), bone loss, and cardiovascular disease.
Infants with progeria suffer from early symptoms like failure to thrive. By the end of infancy, the child may also show other symptoms that resemble aging. Scientists have been extremely interested as to the clues this condition may reveal about the actual human aging process. Filmmakers, as well as the mass and social media, have shown profound curiosity about this illness which causes rapid aging in children. Its uniqueness and the unavailability of cure make this illness a topic of interest in different health-related blogs and magazines.
4 Ebola Virus Disease
The disease caused by the Ebola virus had drawn the interest of media. A few months back, it formed major headlines in some of the prominent newspapers worldwide. The first recorded case of Ebola occurred in Central Africa in 1976. This relatively new life-threatening disease has no known cure yet. In 1995, a village of 400 people in Congo, Central Africa died due to Ebola outbreak. The virus is transmitted through close physical contact and direct exposure to infected body fluids. Various media channels such as newspapers, magazines and the social media help in raising awareness about Ebola.
Similar to several other infections, the symptoms of the disease may include sore throat, skin rashes, digestive problems, headache and fever. At a later stage the patient may suffer from internal and external bleeding. Because it can be easily transmitted through close contact, people need to take special precautions in order to prevent the spread of the disease. In 50% of the cases, Ebola leads to death of the patient.
Schizophrenia is an incurable, chronic mental disorder characterized by failure to distinguish between reality and imagination. Symptoms may include illusions, confusion, hallucinations and difficulty adjusting to a normal environment. Experts identified several possible psychological processes that may lead to this condition but the real cause is not fully known.
The speech and thinking abilities of Schizophrenics are greatly affected. They also have several other associated mental health problems like excessive anxiety, depression and suicidal tendency. At some point, nearly 0.5% to 0.7% of the population suffered from Schizophrenia. While there is no known cure, the symptoms can be treated with the help of psychotic pills, therapy and a strong support group. People with schizophrenia find it difficult to blend with the society resulting in emotional disturbances and social withdrawal.
While the medical science seems to have advanced greatly with their impressive research on other health problems like AIDS and cancer, there are still so many diseases without known or reliable cure. Doctors from around the world need to come together and rack their brains to find solutions to these life-threatening problems. Until then, we cannot fully boast about the advancement of medical science.