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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog
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Tuesday, September 06, 2011
When Lapses Are Not Just Signs of Aging
From The New York Times:
Who hasn’t struggled occasionally to come up with a desired word or the name of someone near and dear? I was still in my 40s when one day the first name of my stepmother of 30-odd years suddenly escaped me. I had to introduce her to a friend as “Mrs. Brody.”
One of Dr. Reisberg’s patients is a typical example. In the two and a half years since her diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment at age 78, the woman learned to use the subway, piloted an airplane for the first time (with an instructor) and continued to enjoy vacations and family visits. But she also paid some of the same bills twice and spends hours shuffling papers.
Dr. Ronald C. Petersen, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., described mild cognitive impairment as “an intermediate state of cognitive function,” somewhere between the changes seen normally as people age and the severe deficits associated with dementia.
While most people experience a gradual cognitive decline as they get older (only about one in 100 lives long without cognitive loss), others experience more extreme changes in cognitive function, the neurologist wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine in June. In population-based studies, mild cognitive impairment has been found in 10 percent to 20 percent of people older than 65, he noted.
Dr. Petersen described two “subtypes” of the condition, amnestic and nonamnestic, that have different trajectories. The more common amnestic type is associated with significant memory problems, and within 5 to 10 years usually — but not always — progresses to full-blown Alzheimer’s disease, he said in an interview.Continue reading.
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