People frequently associate aging with the loss of mental functions, such as memory and judgment, and the onset of difficult behaviors, such as depression and anxiety. These experiences aren’t necessarily a part of normal aging. They may be, in fact, signs of dementia. This book focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
Explaining Alzheimer’s disease is not an easy task. For one thing, there’s so much we don’t know about the disease, including its cause and how to halt or delay its progress in the brain. For another thing, understanding Alzheimer’s requires some in-depth knowledge of the brain’s complexities. The first part of this book attempts to explain the disease clearly and succinctly using the expertise and experience of Mayo Clinic. We believe this material is essential to understanding and coming to terms with events that occur as the disease develops.
This book also provides you with a broad overview of caregiving, along with helping to guide you to the most authoritative resources. In addition, we offer the Quick Guide for Caregivers, a handy, easily accessible reference covering many urgent concerns.
In preparing this book, we would like to acknowledge two individuals who were instrumental in launching and fostering Alzheimer’s disease research at Mayo Clinic: Emre Kokmen, M.D., and Leonard Kurland, M.D., D.P.H.
Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D.
Editor in Chief