Memory Lapses at a Young Age are Unlikely to be Alzheimer's Disease

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

I hope this is the beginning of a new trend.  A recent article in the Washington Post took a very sensible, scientifically prudent, and optimistic approach to a story about Alzheimer's disease.  Essentially, the article develops the important point conveyed in the headline; that baby-boomers who sometimes misplace keys of struggle to recall a name, probably have no pernicious brain disease to worry about.

There is a fine line between dismissing concerns that are associated with normal aging, and ignoring clear signs of a real a memory problem, but this summary of evidence and quotes from experts did a nice job in achieving a proper balance.

I hesitate to criticize this story given the clear progress it represents in terms of highlighting science over sensationalism, but I do wish the headline had been more carefully written.  The actual headline in the Washington Post is "Forgetfulness at an Early Age is Rarely a Sign of Early Dementia".  It doesn't reference Alzheimer's disease although the story is written as though it does.  This disconnect suggests that dementia is actually Alzheimer's disease and begins with mild symptoms in early stages.

As readers of this blog know, "dementia" describes a state of very impaired thinking, and can be caused by many different medical conditions and diseases; Alzheimer's is the most common.  Once a person is demented, their impaired thinking abilities are severe enough to affect their daily life.  I think the headline inappropriately suggests that minor forgetfulness might be the beginning of a disease called dementia -- which is a common mis-understanding that the Brain Today blog works hard to clarify.

13 comments :

  1. ummmm incredible but thanks for let us know with your wonderful article

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  2. I'm 28 and I forget where I put my keys all the time! Even worse, I forget where I've parked when I park in a large structure. I started using a memory support supplement 2 months ago made by AMS Naturals I found online at their website www.amsnaturals.com.

    Things don't feel as foggy anymore, I'm able to focus easily, and I always know where my keys are. It's taken 2 months of using this natural support supplement, but I finally feel my age again! Sharp as knife.

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    1. I have found that...I forgot what I was going to say.

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  3. What were we talking about?

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  4. I find it in poor taste the way some make light of this. I watched Alzheimer's take my kind hearted and intelligent father away from me. It was such a long grieving process and difficult to see the fear in his eyes when he knew what was going on. Hope you don't experience this with a loved one or yourself.

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  5. Yes, not anything to joke about, or make light of. My husband at 58 was diagnosed with alzheimers. It is neither funny or an easy thing to deal with. Seeing daily how he tries to remember and how his memory fails him, very very sad. How he has lost ambition to do things he used to love, how a very social person can turn antisocial, and how depressed he can get...... I wish this awful disease on no one.

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  6. You know what...we all die. Life happens. I lost my mother to cancer. I don't get upset when ppl make light of cancer. That is the way some ppl deal with the sadness in life. Grow the hell up and get some thick skin. Life happens!

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  7. I understood the article was to reassure baby-boomers fretting over mild memory lapses - humour is sure necessary when we start noticing declining cognitive and physical processes as we age. No one would suggest for a moment that dementia is a topic for laughing AT. But even with serious issues, let's take a cue from George Bernard Shaw who points out "Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."

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  8. To the asshole who compaired cancer to Alzheimers I speak for all of us who are dealing or who have dealt with a love one with Alzheimers I would rather deal with someone with cancer than to watch my mother fade away from Alzheimers I too experienced my father dying of cancer so I've dealt with both> i pray and wish that you never have to experience a loved one with Alzheimer

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  9. I don't see how that person was comparing the two. They were stating that they don't get upset when ppl make light of cancer. Also, this articles main point was talking about forgetfulness, not alzheimers. I think people are getting too offensive here. I'd rather have a lapse in memory then a lapse in judgment like some on here.

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  10. Like Alzheimer's disease, Lewy Body disease is a debilitating brain disorder that impairs cognition and leads to dementia. quinine However, because the symptoms are similar, it is often mis-diagnosed as Alzheimer's disease, and subsequently mis-treated.

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