dementia

Have I got a pitch for you: demento prevento!

We’ve known for quite a while that some people seem to escape cognitive decline well into their nineties and beyond. Intriguingly, the brains of these sharp olders often reveal the extensive abnormalities like the “plaques” and “tangles” seen in people with Alzheimer’s. We think it’s because they’ve built what scientists call “cognitive reserve.”

Dementia! Puppets! Gigs!

It was Sabrina Hamilton, the brilliant director of the Ko Festival of Performance, who kicked off my speaking career by inviting me to do a monologue in 2012. She’s got superlative taste and she’s bringing a show called “D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks” to Brooklyn’s Irondale Center this week and next. The show uses puppets to illuminate the inner life of people with late-stage dementia and what it’s like to care for them, and it’s wrenching and uplifting and remarkable.

excellent feedback from geriatric practitioners yesterday

Yesterday I spoke for the first time to an audience of medical practitioners at Weill Cornell Medical College/NY-Presbyterian Hospital Dept. of Geriatrics. It was in a beautiful conference room in the Gothic hulk of a building next to the East River where my daughter was born 28 years ago next week. I opened with an anecdote from a friend who brought his 83-year-old mother in to the family doctor for a check-up—she was in a wheelchair after a stroke—and when they came into his office the doctor said, “Are you still around?”

 

Use it or . . . what did you say?

Until I read this article on the New York Times Well Blog, I had no idea that hearing loss linked to a variety of health problems, most notably dementia. It cites a longitudinal study that found that “compared to individuals with normal hearing, those individuals with a mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss, respectively, had a 2-, 3- and 5-fold increased risk of developing dementia [emphasis mine] over the course of the study.”

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