How do we motivate individuals to take action or change behavior in response to a possible threat that has not yet materialized? When the threat is dementia, argues longtime neurologist Robert Levine
, it is an issue of considerable importance. The earlier the campaign is initiated to defeat this lurking foe, the greater the chances the combatant will emerge victorious. Written to encourage such defensive action, Levine's book is meant both as a guide and a reference to understanding and preventing dementia. It is intended for lay people interested in learning about dementia and the measures that can be taken to repel its onslaught, as well as for caregivers and family members of impaired patients. Defying Dementia is presented in two sections. First, Levine explains the various types of dementia, its increasing incidence and current treatments, and the treatments being tested and on the horizon. The role of physiology and fresh insights from the field of genetics are included. The second section focuses on methods that can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle to help avoid dementia. Vignettes illustrate how dementia in its many forms can be recognized as it emerges. “With proper actions on our part, we can achieve mastery,” Levine writes. "The transformation may not be easy, but recognizing the scourge that dementia is, and the way it devours the humanity of its victims, may inspire us to move ahead. Preparation is the key word; building solid defenses over time. And while any moment is worthwhile to begin this task, the earlier the better."
In developed countries around the world, life expectancy is increasing. But there is an associated cost. The longer we live, the greater the chance our minds will deteriorate and that, due to dementia, we will be unable to control our own lives or live independently. Yet there are steps we can take now to lower our risk of developing dementia later in life. In this book, neurologist Robert Levine
first explains the various types of dementia, its increasing incidence and current treatments, as well as treatments being tested and on the horizon. The role of physiology and new insights from the field of genetics is included. The second section focuses on methods we can all incorporate to avoid dementia, and the reasons those methods can be effective. Vignettes illustrate how dementia in its many forms, can be recognized as it emerges. Levine recognises that Baby Boomers, especially now, are attuned to the incidence of dementia in their parents' generation, as well as their own.
But, fuelled by remarkable self-efficacy and the will to live well as well as long, Levine argues that this generation and those that follow can take control of their lives in ways that can increase our chances of defying dementia.
"Dementia, in its many forms, exerts a huge emotional, physical, and economic toll on victims, their families, and the social and health care delivery system. Gerontologists predict that by 2050, the number of people with these diseases will double. In this book, neurologist Levine provides an overview of the state of knowledge regarding Alzheimer's and related dementias. Written in a sophisticated but accessible style, the book is divided into two sections. The first explains the anatomy and physiology, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the full spectrum of dementias. The second section, titled Lowering the Risk, features four chapters offering evidence-based lifestyle changes and interventions that could potentially decrease the risk of developing dementia and/or maximize cognitive functioning. Levine's intended audience is the intelligent layperson, but the book would be equally appropriate for selected health professionals or social service students seeking general coverage of the topic....[t]his succinct, credible resource on these devastating diseases sums up the present-day state of affairs and hints at the future. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates, two-year technical program students, professionals/practitioners, and general readers." -
ROBERT LEVINE, M.D., is former Chief of Surgery at Norwalk Hospital and retired Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. He is the author of Aging with Attitude (Praeger, 2004).