Tangled Minds: Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias

Muriel R. Gillick, M.D., Author
Muriel R. Gillick, M.D., Author Dutton Books $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-94145-3
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Gillick, an associate director of the Geriatrics Fellowship Program at Harvard Medical School, began this study convinced that to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's was one of the worst things that could happen to you. Yet as a result of her extensive research into dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common manifestation, she now concludes that those with mild or moderate dementia can lead acceptable lives, although the illness results in eventual intellectual deterioration. By describing the progression of Alzheimer's through the case study of a composite patient and her family, which she interweaves with an informed discussion of the science, history and politics of dementia, Gillick points out mistaken public assumptions about the condition. According to the author, although ongoing research should continue, a cure is not imminent, and the elderly cannot prevent dementia just by keeping active and eating right. Gillick believes that to develop a humane and responsible public policy, society must accept the reality that a large number of the very old will experience dementia. (Apr.)
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