A few months ago I launched the first in what I hope will become a recurring series: Pearls from Medical Science. As many of you know, I strive to provide high-quality, scientifically accurate medical information on Healthy Matters, both the radio show and this blog. As do most doctors, I get inundated with medical journals, which are the repository of what the medical science community has learned about our various medical conditions. Since nobody can read all this (or want to), every now and then I will present one thing I’ve learned from what doctors call (with apologies to Hemingway and Fitzgerald), the “literature.”
Hi, everybody! I’m back after a bit of a hiatus for a bit of family vacation. Thanks for checking in!
This week’s topic is dementia. We talked about it with an expert colleague on our Healthy Matters radio broadcast and as I mentioned on the air, I’ll use this blog post to dig a little deeper into this expansive topic
Do you know who that is in the picture at left? That’s Dr. Alois Alzheimer. He’s the Bavarian doctor who had a patient, 51 year old Auguste Deter, who back in 1901 was in the Frankfurt asylum. She was forgetting things and acting strangely – a condition he called presenile dementia. Sadly, she was exactly the type of people who ended up in places like asylums at that time. She was to become the first patient with what later became known as Alzheimer’s Disease, named for this doctor who found strange formations in her brain tissue at autopsy. More on that later.
But rather than get into the science of dementia right away, I’d like to get you thinking about what dementia can look like on a more humanistic level. Please check out this 3-minute video – it’s really poignant and tender.
Preview of this post
Here’s what you will find in this post should you choose to read further:
Meet Dr. Abigail Holley. Someone who is uniquely positioned to care for older adults.
Dementia 101. The scientific/medical basics.
Links to resources to help you or a loved one who may have cognitive decline. There are some terrific links scattered throughout this post that are interactive, reliable, and really informative. Look for the blue underlined links and click away!
Before I get started on this post . . . I have started reading How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, which is the selection for our online Healthy Matters book club. Check out the recent post about it here and start reading!
Check out our dog, Zoe.
She is a sweet and happy beast with bad hips and definitely has some issues with staying tidy. This is a small sampling of her extensive toy collection which is strewn throughout our house. She’s a slob.
So why am I showing pictures of my dog?
Just imagine yourself in the middle of the night navigating that minefield of toys and dog beds and sleeping dogs and not tripping. Ugh. I’m going to talk about falls, mostly in the elderly, but really it could be in anybody.
In this post you will find:
Photo evidence of my “research” in the form of an unplanned walk through my own house.
A story of a patient for whom a fall was life-changing.
Risk factors for falls.
Lots of links to great resources and videos.
Guidance from experts in fall prevention from the Healthy Matters radio show.
Two cools things – a checklist for safety in your own home and video clips which demonstrate the effect of vision on falls. Check out both of these later in this post