A dreaded diagnosis, that dimmed and dooming dilemma. Feared, sometimes fought, too often forgotten. It is the grayest, ghastliest elephant in the room: dementia.
What is dementia? I, like many others who dedicate their professional efforts to its study and treatment, have no good answer. I believe we are lost in our lexicon, trying to define a brain state so vexing and elusive it drives us out of our minds.
I hope we can do better, and I am not alone. In a sensitive and forward-looking editorial entitled Dementia: A Word to be Forgotten, Drs. Trachtenberg and Trojanowski of the University of Pennsylvania argue that alternate terms are more appropriate for research, clinical, and everyday settings. From scientific and biological perspectives, dementia is unspecific and subjective. Within the walls of the physician’s office, delivering the diagnosis of dementia can erect unintended walls around patients and families; vulnerable individuals, assuming that the “cruel connotations in the lay language” actually apply to them, are unnecessarily isolated. [Read more…] about Brain Failure and Brain Fitness: A Farewell to Dementia?