The Myth of Alzheimers: What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis is a book I recommend to anyone with any concerns about this diagnosis. Peter Whitehouse is a well known neurologist. He used to be a spokesperson for a number of drug companies that offered pharmaceutical approaches to Alzheimers disease. Dr. Whitehouse has given up those positions. His whole focus has shifted - even in his clinical practice has a new orientation. Anyone who is concerned about this disease should read this book. It is informative. And what is even more important, it is encouraging.
Whitehouse offers the reader a history of how Alzheimers was first established as a disease. He even talks about the 'medical politics' that may have played a part.....and Whitehouse shows that politics/economics still play a big part in everything surrounding this diagnosis.
Readers are reminded that no one really knows what Alzheimers is - that it is a diagnosis assigned to a person when the medical community can not find the cause of their dementia among any of the known causes of dementia.
That is not to say that there is not a medical condition involved...but it could be that there are several different causes of this progressive dementia. Maybe it is not ONE disease and if it is not, then much of the medical research is 'off base'. Whitehouse suggests that the enormous sums being spent to find a 'cure for Alzheimers' may be off base - especially if there is not a single disease but a number of different causes of progressive dementia.
But it is not just 'politics and economics in the Myth of Alzheimers. What is of far more use to ordinary readers is that Peter Whitehouse does NOT see such a diagnosis as a sentence into oblivion and family pain.
Instead he spends a great deal of time showing that the medical community now has the ability to slow the progression of stage 1 and stage 2 so much that the patient dies of other causes before progressing to the more advanced and difficult stages. And he does not just make this claim. Instead he talks about specific treatments that can be used - that he uses with his clients.
Further, in The Myth of Alzheimers Peter Whitehouse discusses some of the ways that persons with a diagnosis of Alzheimers can be brought into the social fabric of the community so they do not suffer the stigma so often associated with this diagnosis.
He refers to his own programs which allow his patients to be 'matched' for volunteering with programs that needs specific skills the patient still retains. So a librarian, whose verbal skills are so proficient volunteers in a program to help inner city children with their school work. The children get needed attention and this librarian enjoys the respect given a volunteer as well as the joy of knowing that she is contributing to the good of society. That she has a diagnosis of Alzheimers is NO LONGER the defining characteristic of her life.
The Myth of Alzheimers is worth reading. If you wish to buy a copy, I suggest that you try one or more of the following online booksellers. I list a few of them because I have found that the best known companies are NOT always the least expensive and doing a few searches can often turn up an unexpected bargain.
Amazon - the most popular by far. Shop Amazon.com
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