Archive for August, 2013

There are a multitude of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.  As I have often written, the best treatments are proactive rather than reactive.  Risk factors help you be aware that you need to evaluate and monitor your memory and incorporate external memory supports, strategic planning, and life style enhancements to better protect your future. Age is the clearest risk factor for a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.  Age trumps all other factors.  Most of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are 65 and older.  The risk reaches nearly 50%by age 85.  Anyone over the age of 65 should consider a thorough memory evaluation to establish a baseline. Genetics.  If you have a first-degree relative (parents or siblings) with Alzheimer’s disease, your risk is about 3-4 times that of those who do not have a first-degree relative.  But the genetics are complex and […]


Why do we need a new diagnostic category of “subjective cognitive decline?”  We already have a system in place to stage the level of memory loss and concerns.  The challenge of a slowly progressive disease like Alzheimer’s is that it unfolds over several decades, it has subtle beginnings (difficult to tell from senior moments early on), and it does not always lead to dementia (i.e., disability).  This means that many, but not all, will be aware that they are changing well before it can be recognized from the outside. The Global Deterioration Scale is designed to stage level of memory loss and has been available for years.  It comes in several forms but in essence the scale marks seven stages from no decline to total disability.  It serves as a guide to determine what actions need to be taken and […]


I have had a number of clients over the years that have come to me with concerns about their memory that seemed just fine.  For example, there was the 82-year-old woman who was a Smith College graduate in physics.  I evaluated her four times over the course of ten years.   On the first evaluation, she tested among the highest I have ever seen – including short-term memory.  However, on each of four subsequent evaluations, her short-term memory scores declined even though the word list was the same.  She obviously was aware of changes before testing could detect decline. Clients such as this are referred to as the “worried well.”  Professionals dismiss them as if they are not aware of their own bodies.  I find this particularly disturbing as progressive neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease […]

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