Jeanette, sitting across from me, was genuinely frightened about her future. Yes, she did have several elderly relatives with what she was calling “Alzheimer’s”, but I quickly pointed out that not all causes of dementia are due to Alzheimer’s Disease and much of dementia is both preventable and reversible. I asked what steps she had […]
As we get older, many of us do worry about the health and well-being of our brains. No kid taking the SAT who forgets a vocabulary word she’d studied the night before is concerned that this is the first sign of dementia. But as the years pass, you ask yourself if forgetting someone’s name, wondering […]
We’ve always known there was a higher rate of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in women than in men, initially attributed to the fact that women live longer and that the decline in mental function occurred with age. This turned out to be wrong. At 65, a woman has a greater than one-in-six chance of […]
Quite some time ago during my internal medicine residency, articles began to appear in medical journals advancing the idea that stomach ulcers might be caused by bacteria. Mainly, I remember how dismissive most gastroenterologists were of this idea. “It is utterly impossible,” said one lecturer, “that any bacteria could survive in the intense acidity of […]
Immediate answer: The newest research shows that your own impression of your memory–not anyone else’s, and not any particular test–could be the very first sign of mental decline as you age. Longer answer: We all have episodes of forgetfulness no matter how old we are. Ask any high school senior confronted with the SAT vocabulary […]
You walk into a room, pause, stare blankly ahead, and ask yourself, “What did I come in here for?” Seeing a familiar face in the theatre lobby, you exchange socially acceptable kindnesses and now the first act is ruined as you wrack your brain trying to remember the person’s name so you don’t embarrass yourself […]
In 2006, the very dark comedy Idiocracy played local theatres for what seemed like a few hours before disappearing into DVD bins and obscure cable channels. Its Rip van Winkle story involves a not particularly bright Army librarian, recruited into a Pentagon hibernation program, awakening centuries into the future and finding himself the most intelligent person in America.