The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems

The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems

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by P. Murali Doraiswamy, Lisa P. Gwyther, Tina Adler
     
 

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Is it really Alzheimer's? How to find out and intervene early to maintain the highest quality of life

"Most of us will either get Alzheimer's or care for a loved one who has. This action plan can empower you to make a difference."---Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.

What would you do if your mother was having memory problems?

Overview

Is it really Alzheimer's? How to find out and intervene early to maintain the highest quality of life

"Most of us will either get Alzheimer's or care for a loved one who has. This action plan can empower you to make a difference."---Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.

What would you do if your mother was having memory problems?

Alzheimer's is a disease affecting more than five million Americans, with a new diagnosis being made every seventy-two seconds. Millions more are worried or at risk due to mild memory loss or family history. Although experts agree that early diagnosis and treatment are essential, many people with memory loss and their families---and even their doctors---don't know where to turn for authoritative, state-of-the-art advice and answers to all of their questions.

Now, combining the insights of a world-class physician and an award-winning social worker, this groundbreaking book tells you everything you need to know, including:

· The best tests to determine if this is---or is not---Alzheimer's disease
· The most (and least) effective medical treatments
· Coping with behavioral and emotional changes through the early and middle stages
· Gaining access to the latest clinical trials
· Understanding the future of Alzheimer's

Clear, compassionate, and empowering, The Alzheimer's Action Plan is the first book that anyone dealing with mild memory loss or early Alzheimer's must-read in order to preserve the highest possible quality of life for as long as possible.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429934725
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/15/2008
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
367,918
File size:
546 KB

Read an Excerpt


Introduction
“What Would You Do If She Were Your Mother?” (Answer: Take Action!)
Imagine this scenario: You’re a career woman with a family. You’ve noticed that your mother’s memory has been going downhill for a couple of years. She mixes up the names of some of her friends, she’s missed two bill payments, and she recently dropped out of her weekly bridge club, saying she prefers being at home. She denies any memory problems and takes pleasure in saying, “Even my family doctor said I was in great shape at my last physical three weeks ago.”
You take a day off and bring her to the doctor, who sees her privately for about twenty minutes. The doctor then invites you to join them and says that your mother may have a mild memory problem (which you already knew!) but that it’s not Alzheimer’s. Your mother, relieved, smiles at the doctor and gives you an “I told you so” look. You are too uncomfortable to ask the doctor what tests she did, how accurate the tests are, and whether you should seek a second opinion. Back at home, you say to your mother, “Looks like you aced the tests the doctor gave you. Were they difficult?” Your mother answers, “All I had to do was draw a round clock. I passed, so don’t bother me about my memory anymore.”
Nearly two years after that visit, your mother’s short-term memory has gotten much worse. She repeats herself often, as though she has forgotten what she said just minutes ago. She has also stopped reading her favorite magazines, and her hairdresser says she is showing up for “appointments” that she never made. A family friend calls to say that your mother got lost on her way to their house even though she had been there many times before. You take your mother back to the doctor, and this time the doctor orders a brain scan and blood work. When the doctor calls back a few days later, she says your mother has early Alzheimer’s disease and should try a medication. The doctor does not tell you the test results or refer you to a specialist but does transfer you to the clinic’s social worker, who suggests you call the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.
When you hang up from the call, you’re stunned and you don’t know where to begin. You have no one to help you decide whether you should tell your mother the diagnosis, whether she can live on her own, what will happen to her next. Is it a definitive diagnosis? Should you take her for another evaluation? Should she take any medications?
Your questions are beginning to snowball. You vaguely remember hearing about promising treatments on the news, and you’ve seen newspaper ads seeking participants with Alzheimer’s for a clinical trial—but how do you make sense of this information? Bewildered by the differing options for treatment and care, and worried about your own future, you wish you could ask a top doctor: “What would you do if she were your mother?”
That is just the question we want to answer in this book. As a doctor who specializes in treating and studying Alzheimer’s disease, and a social worker with years of experience teaching people how to live with and care for those with the illness, we are grounded in the latest advances in the field as well as the inside information you need to take charge. We want to help you create a plan of action to get the best diagnosis and treatment for the person in your life who has or may have Alzheimer’s. That action plan will also help you find the best support for the person with Alzheimer’s and the person taking care of him or her.
In fact, the idea for our book arose when Dr. Doraiswamy realized that he was repeatedly asked the very question posed by the daughter in this scenario. In lectures delivered to medical and lay audiences alike, the most poignant and common query was, “What would you do if your mother was starting to have memory problems?”
Embedded in that question, he understood, was people’s belief that expert physicians provide a higher level of medical care for their immediate family members or close friends than for routine patients. To test that perception, he conducted a survey of more than a hundred Alzheimer’s experts and found his intuition was correct. In each of several questions posed—whether about treatment options for early memory problems or the types of diagnostic tests doctors said they’d prescribe—the physicians said they would indeed order better, more sophisticated tests and treatments for “their own” than for the average patient.
The idea that a doctor’s family and friends might get better care than others is neither surprising nor fair. But it is a reality we’d like to change. Our intent is to open up that expert knowledge base to anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or its precursors and to those who care for them so that you can get the most from your doctors, from your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the leading and the oldest Alzheimer’s support and research organization, and from other community resources.
Copyright © 2008 by P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., and Lisa P. Gwyther, M.S.W. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

P. MURALI DORAISWAMY, M.D., a renowned expert on brain health, is head of Duke University's Biological Psychiatry division and a Senior Fellow at Duke's Center for the Study of Aging. As Director of Psychiatry Clinical Trials at Duke for nearly ten years, he received numerous awards for his work as an investigator on landmark studies. The author of more than two hundred scientific articles, Dr. Doraiswamy has served as an adviser to the Food and Drug Administration, the American Federation for Aging Research, the National Institutes of Aging, and the World Health Organization, as well as leading Alzheimer's medical journals and advocacy groups. His research has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times, and on CBS News, The Today Show, NPR, and the BBC.

LISA P. GWYTHER, M.S.W., Associate Professor in the Duke University Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is a social worker with thirty-eight years' experience in aging and Alzheimer's services. She is the education director of the Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Duke and the current president of the Gerontological Society of America. The author of 130 scientific and lay publications, she was honored in 1998 as one of the founders of the national Alzheimer's Association, and has won national and state awards for documentaries on Alzheimer's disease and creativity in Alzheimer's programming. The mother of two and grandmother of four, she resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband of forty years.

TINA ADLER, a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and science, lives in Cabin John, Maryland. She cared for two family members who had Alzheimer's disease.


P. MURALI DORAISWAMY, M.D., a renowned expert on brain longevity and mental health, is head of Duke University’s Biological Psychiatry division and a Senior Fellow at Duke’s Center for the Study of Aging. As Director of Psychiatry Clinical Trials at Duke for nearly ten years, he received numerous awards for his work as an investigator on landmark studies. The author of more than two hundred scientific articles, Dr. Doraiswamy has served as an adviser to the Food and Drug Administration, the American Federation for Aging Research, the National Institutes of Aging, and the World Health Organization, as well as leading Alzheimer’s medical journals and advocacy groups. His research has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times, and on CBS News, The Today Show, NPR, and the BBC.
LISA P. GWYTHER, M.S.W., Associate Professor in the Duke University Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is a social worker with thirty-eight years’ experience in aging and Alzheimer’s services. She is the education director of the Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke and the current president of the Gerontological Society of America. The author of 130 scientific and lay publications, she was honored in 1998 as one of the founders of the national Alzheimer’s Association, and has won national and state awards for documentaries on Alzheimer’s disease and creativity in Alzheimer’s programming. The mother of two and grandmother of four, she resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband of forty years.
TINA ADLER, a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and science, lives in Cabin John, Maryland. She cared for two family members who had Alzheimer’s disease.

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Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those caring for a loved one with dementia, The Alzheimer's Action Plan is a helpful and hopeful guide to understanding diagnosis and treatment of dementia. But, the chapters on caregiving offer the most important advice on how to normalize life with a loved suffering from dementia. Written with great wit and wisdom, the authors deliver a rich and easy read. This book will help you if you are living with or caring for a person with dementia.