The Alzheimer Conundrum: Entanglements of Dementia and Aging

Margaret Lock. Princeton Univ., $29.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-691-14978-3
Lock’s diligent survey of research, literature, conferences, and interviews from 2008 to 2012 follows events that led to a “recasting of the phenomenon of Alzheimer disease” as something to be prevented—and the lack of consensus on how to do so. She also calls for better care and social support for those living with the disease. Lock (An Anthropology of Biomedicine), McGill University professor of social studies of medicine, states that the “stubborn conundrum” of the most commonly diagnosed subcategory of dementia is that its biology, causes, and risk factors aren’t very well understood. Lock proves that the science of the disease is just as compelling as poignant accounts from caregivers and those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Lock highlights just how much we don’t know, from problems with Alzheimer’s pathology, testing, and diagnosis to the search for a drug treatment. “The number of times the word ‘uncertainty’ has been used in this book is remarkable,” she notes. While science plugs away at solving the Alzheimer’s conundrum, Lock’s call for improved care and social support takes on a new urgency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/19/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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