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Topic NYTimes front page article on dementia Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By Reflection On 2012.05.06 09:26
When Illness Makes a Spouse a Stranger
Published: May 5, 2012

"He threw away tax documents, got a ticket for trying to pass an ambulance and bought stock in companies that were obviously in trouble. Once a good cook, he burned every pot in the house. He became withdrawn and silent, and no longer spoke to his wife over dinner. That same failure to communicate got him fired from his job at a consulting firm.

By 2006, Michael French a smart, good-natured, hardworking man had become someone his wife, Ruth, felt she hardly knew. Infuriated, she considered divorce....

Mr. French, now 71, has frontotemporal dementia..."
The different dementias have different core symptoms, and perhaps different causes - but they overlap and, over time, converge. I attended the support group mentioned in this article for ~18 months, so I was especially interested to read the article. I found the group because my husband has/had many symptoms of frontaltemporal dementia ("FTD")- which he was utterly indifferent to, he thought the only problems he had were Parkinson's. The leader of the group, Jill Goldman, who is quoted in the article, said that as they advance, all dementias tend to converge.

After a great deal of research, I found that leading PD researchers were well aware at Parkinson's neurodegeneration tends to advance through the frontal lobes (Braak hypothesis), but they don't tend to communicate this to the PD patients or caregivers. Which has made my life way harder than it had to be.

I also found that too much dopamine - especially high doses of dopamine agonists - were a REVERSABLE cause of some of the FTD symptoms - the anger/paranoia/ part of the personality change - though other elements (apathy, slowness) were PD, and remained after his medications were reduced.

Knowledge is power and helps us help our loved ones, our families, and ourselves deal with this wretched disease.

By mylove On 2012.05.06 12:19
Thanks so much for this link. I went back and read through the other articles. I'd like to mention a sister piece to the one you cited that should be read too:

AMAZING things going on at the described care facility. So much of what they've found that they're doing is so simple - but makes so much sense.

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