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July 10, 2021 36 min

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia.

As life expectancies increase, more and more people are at risk of developing dementia. But what does it even mean?

According to alz.org, in the United States, there are more deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia than from breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. In the past few years, Alzheimer’s deaths have increased by 16%. In 2021, Alzheimer’s will cost the nation $355 billion. By 2050, this number could be over $1 trillion. More than 11 million Americans take care of people with Alzheimer's or other dementias without getting paid for it.

Join me and Dr. Jason Karlawish as we chat about how you need to prepared for the increase in cases of dementia. We talked about how often people are getting dementia. 100 years ago, people did not get it as much and the cases were not diagnosed. They were not dying from it as often. Now, there are more cases of Alzheimer's than before. What would you do if you went back in time and talked to someone with memory problems? If the person has problems early on in life, they can be diagnosed with Alzheimer's. To help them, we need policy changes that will improve the well-being and dignity of people living with dementia.
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Timestamps:

[00:00] Pre-intro dialogue from Jason Karlawish
[01:41] Friendly get to know you and Hanh's experience with dementia in her family.
[04:05] Introduction to Jason Karlawish
[04:46] Jason's background, including what exactly sparked his interest in Alzheimer's and Dementia?
[06:06] It seems like a hundred years ago, people didn't die of Alzheimer's as often. Was it just underdiagnosis or something else?
[09:36] If you could go back a hundred years, what would you do to educate people about Alzheimer's to prevent us from being in the place where we are today?
[11:25] How are we able to diagnose Alzheimer's early, even before a person has any memory problems?
[14:40] Things we can do now to prepare for the future increase in cases of dementia?
[17:41] What effect does a negative stigma around memory loss and dementia have on those with dementia?
[19:20] Ageism and its role in these stigmas?
[19:38] What could we do to break down these stereotypes? On a personal level and cultural level?
[23:42] Your thoughts on Biogen's new drug?
[25:19] Why are some people confused about the moral aspects of Alzheimer's medication?
[27:06] Thoughts on future success as an Alzheimer's medication?
[28:45] Ways to improve Alzheimer's disease treatment today without using drugs like Biogen's, returning to old treatments, such as HRT or Donepezil?
[31:45] Implications social media have for our sense of determination in a society?
[33:02] Anything else that you would like to add?
[34:49] Where can listeners find you and find your book?
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Bio:

Dr. Jason Karlawish is a physician and writer who researches and writes about issues at the intersection of bioethics, aging, and the neurosciences. Dr. Karlawish's work has aired on NPR (National Public Radio) as well as The New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes, Philadelphia Inquirer, and many others. His book "The Problem of Alzheimer's" will be published February 2021 by Macmillan/St Martin's Press in association with TED Books; this book tells the story of how science culture politics turned a rare disease into a crisis that we can do something about!

Find out more about Jason:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-karlawish-a4888030/
Website: https://www.jasonkarlawish.com/

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