Archive for March, 2013

Alterations in short-term memory are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease as well as a whole host of other brain changes that can, in time, erode our ability to make complex decisions such as handling finances or making legal documents.  The changes are subtle in onset and slow in progression.  Neither our own self-evaluation nor that of competent professionals can detect the changes by observation in the very early stages.  Despite our personal beliefs about our selves, most will not “know” when to give up the finances or when to stop driving.  Changes in memory are not the province of medicine.  Medical screenings are insensitive to early changes in memory and brain scans produce too many false positive results.  Verbal learning tests used to assess short-term memory are better at detecting risk than are biomarkers such as PET scans. We need […]


“Alzheimer’s epidemic puts advisers – and their practices – at risk” (, February 26, 2013).  “Clients with Alzheimer’s pose “scary” legal risks” (, February 13, 2012).  “Money woes can be early clue to Alzheimer’s” (New York Times, October 2010).  The worry has been there for some time.  The problem of risk management is as clear as is the solution.  Alzheimer’s disease unfolds over the course of 30 or so years, progresses slowly, and does not produce disability until well advanced.  Progressive dementias unfold like reverse development.   First in, last out.   We learn walking and talking very early.  Managing technology and complex decision-making comes much later.  It’s no wonder that complex decision-making, like investing and managing money and legal decisions, are the first signs of decline.  It appears to sneak up on us – but it does not. Alzheimer’s disease gives […]


“The research is out there that you can cure all of it by diet!” Not so fast.  One of the most popular theories of aging is that aging results from accumulation of damage from oxidative stress – destruction of tissues by free radicals.  Hence oxidation creates havoc on cells over time and causes tissues and organs to age as a result.  The theory suggests that consuming antioxidants is the key to anti-aging and curing disease. Last March, I wrote an article based on several findings that puzzled me. “There are small but consistent findings that vitamins and supplements may cause harm – even use of a multivitamin in those who are well nourished may slightly increase the risk of premature death.”  Additionally, taking more than 400 IUs of vitamin E may pose health risks including premature death.  Vitamin A may increase […]

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