Alzheimer's Disease: A Handbook for Caregivers

By Ronald C. Handy; James M. Turnbull et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Alzheimer's Disease:
an Overview

Ronald C Hamdy
James M Turnbull

Science tells us what we can know, but what we
can know is little, and if we forget how much
we cannot know, we become insensitive to
many things of great importance
.

—Bertrand Russell

The announcement By Ronald Reagan that he had Alzheimer's disease galvanized the American public into recognizing their own vulnerability in a way no other public figure has done. Norman Rockwell and Rita Hayworth, both victims of Allieimer's disease, were beloved and admired, but they were not former presidents of the United States and did not have the aura of the former president. As a direct result of this announcement, President Reagan challenged politicians and lawmakers to properly fund research into the cause and treatment of this disease.

Alzheimer's disease is often referred to as the "disease of the century."

In addition to affecting the patient and caregivers, Alzheimer's disease has very significant social and economic implications. It is identified as "dementia of the Alzheimer's type" in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Alzheimer's disease illustrates and emphasizes the concept of the global village: when a person is afflicted by Alzheimer's disease, it is not only that person who suffers, but also the family, neighbors, friends, relatives, and society by and large. As John Donne said, no man is an island.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. It now afflicts nearly 4 million Americans. These numbers are expected to increase dramatically as the U.S. population ages. By the year 2050 approximately 14.5 million people will suffer from Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is not part of the normal aging process, although it affects predominantly elderly people. Whereas only 10% of those 65 years of age and

-1-

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Alzheimer's Disease: A Handbook for Caregivers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Alzheimer's Disease - A Handbook for Caregivers *
  • Contributors v
  • Reviewers ix
  • Foreword from First Edition xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Contents xix
  • Chapter 1 - Alzheimer's Disease: an Overview 1
  • Unit One *
  • The Normal Brain *
  • Chapter 2 - Higher Brain Functions 11
  • Chapter 3 - Neuropsychological Assessment of Dementia 27
  • Chapter 4 - Imaging the Brain in Alzheimer's Disease 41
  • Unit 2 *
  • Alzheimer's Disease *
  • Chapter 5 - Historical Perspectives 51
  • Chapter 6 - Etiology and Pathogenesis: Current Concepts 60
  • Chapter 7 - Clinical Presentation 74
  • Chapter 8 - Clinical Diagnosis 87
  • Chapter 9 - Factors That Aggravate the Symptoms 104
  • Chapter 10 - Other Dementias 117
  • Unit Three *
  • Management *
  • Chapter 11 - General Principles of Management 143
  • Chapter 12 - Management of Difficult Behaviors 150
  • Chapter 13 - Psychopharmacology in Dementia 171
  • Chapter 4 - Specific Drug Therapy 183
  • Chapter 15 - Urinary and Fecal Incontinence 199
  • Chapter 16 - Management of Urinary Incontinence 213
  • Chapter 17 - Safety and Accident Prevention 227
  • Chapter 18 - Daily Care and Management 243
  • Chapter 19 - Developing a Day's Activity 259
  • Chapter 20 - Terminal Care of the Patient 276
  • Unit 4 *
  • Special Issues *
  • Chapter 21 - Ethical Issues 293
  • Chapter 22 - Legal Issues for Caregivers 306
  • Chapter 23 - Stress in Caregivers 316
  • Chapter 24 - Elder Abuse 328
  • Unit Five *
  • Community Support *
  • Chapter 25 - Caregiver Education and Support 341
  • Chapter 26 - Social Services 354
  • Chapter 27 - The Alzheimer's Association 367
  • Chapter 28 - Dementia Care Units 377
  • Unit Six *
  • Future Prospects *
  • Chapter 29 - Promising Areas of Research 393
  • Appendix A - Some Useful Addresses and Phone Numbers 399
  • Appendix B - Additional References 415
  • Glossary 423
  • Index 441
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