Dispelling the most common myths about dementia
Condition sparks fear or denial among older people and family, but accurate information helps
Health misinformation can leave people unnecessarily afraid or pessimistic about illnesses, transforming them into the “worried well.” Or it can feed into denial, making people unrealistically hopeful about their condition.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are fertile ground for misinformation, with much fear and denial among older people and their loved ones. It can be very scary to face a diagnosis, but accurate information really does help. As a cognitive neurologist, I’d like to correct a few of the most common myths because I have seen firsthand how they can worsen misunderstandings and, ultimately, anxiety among my patients and their caregivers.
HEALTH New evidence about a cancer operation in women finds a higher death rate for the less invasive version, challenging standard practice and the “less is more” approach to treating cervical cancer. The unexpecttients
Myth 1: Memory loss is a natural part of aging
There are some memory changes that are considered a normal part of aging, but the tricky part is deciding when the memory loss is abnormal. At the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a person could have slight changes to their memory that are imperceptible to anyone else.
My advice: Don’t simply write off significant memory loss as an inevitable part of aging. It could be the beginnings of dementia. Researchers are developing drugs or interventions that can potentially slow dementia’s onset. If you or someone in your family has significant memory loss, get assessed by a doctor.
Myth 2: Only older adults can get Alzheimer’s disease
With every decade of life, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease does go up. For example, when a person is in their 80s, they have a one-in-three
ed findings are prompting changes at some hospitals that perform radical hysterectomies for early stage disease.
The more rigorous of the two studies was conducted at more than 30 sites in a dozen countries. It found women who had the less invasive surgery were four times more likely to see their cancer return compared to women who had traditional surgery. Death from cervical cancer occurred in 14 of 319 patients who had minimally invasive surgery and 2 of 312 pa- At the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a person could have slight changes to their memory that are imperceptible to anyone else.
chance of developing the disorder. However, about 15 per cent of those who get Alzheimer’s are under the age of
60; and I’ve seen people in my clinic who are in their 50s and even in their 40s.
Just because you experience
memory loss that affects your day-to-day activities doesn’t mean it’s always Alzheimer’s disease. A doctor can investigate the condition and see if treatable causes can be addressed.
Myth 3: Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the same thing
“Dementia” is a clinical term used by doctors after an individual has been found to have severe issues with their memory and mental functions, such as their ability to plan things and find words. It describes a number of symptoms that impact a person’s everyday life. Dementia is the result of a number of different illnesses. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading causes.
Though it accounts for about 50 per cent of dementia cases, there are a number of other distinct brain illnesses that lead to dementia. So if you have been given a diagnosis of “dementia,” this doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s.
More deaths seen for less invasive cervical cancer surgery