Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Opportunity Cost, Choice and Alzheimer's Disease

I must apologize for not posting in a while. The past few weeks have seen me tied up with the College Fed Challenge program . Last week we had 13 teams in the Bank from universities around the Chicago Fed's district. In front of panels of Fed economists, they provided analysis, forecasts and monetary policy recommendations. Northwestern University emerged from a strong field to represent the Seventh District against teams from the Boston, New York and Richmond Districts later this month.

One of the highlights was meeting fellow blogger William Polley who teaches at Western Illinois University and who brought a first-time team to the competition. I always enjoy his posts, and I find I learn a lot as well.

Now down to the topic at hand. Yesterday morning, as I was driving to the train station, I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR and heard this interesting piece on Alzheimer's Disease. The article pointed out that Alzheimer's was first described in the medical literature 100 years ago. It was received with little fanfare as the symptoms were thought of as basic to the aging process.

I was particularly struck when one of the folks being interviewed talked about the opportunity cost we face with the disease. He thought that the funds spent on research looking for a cure may better be put to use in providing support for families and victims. I don't know enough about Alzheimer's to comment on whether or not it is curable, but I think the case for making healthy lifestyle choices to slow or prevent its onslaught, and the idea of support for those who already have the disease, could make for interesting discussion in the classroom. I have no doubt that the emotional price paid by those who suffer from Alzheimer's is high. This goes for those diagnosed as well as for family and friends.

What do you think about using this as a discussion starter when talking about opportunity cost?

Posted by TSchilling at 3:00 PM Comments (0)

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