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The Alzheimer Conundrum: Entanglements of Dementia and Aging [Kindle Edition]

Margaret Lock
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Because of rapidly aging populations, the number of people worldwide experiencing dementia is increasing and the projections are grim. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars invested in medical research, no effective treatment has been discovered for Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. The Alzheimer Conundrum exposes the predicaments embedded in current efforts to slow down or halt Alzheimer's disease through early detection of presymptomatic biological changes in healthy individuals.

Based on a careful study of the history of Alzheimer's disease and extensive in-depth interviews with clinicians, scientists, epidemiologists, geneticists, and others, Margaret Lock highlights the limitations and the dissent implicated in this approach. She stresses that one major difficulty is the well-documented absence of behavioral signs of Alzheimer's disease in a significant proportion of elderly individuals, even when Alzheimer neuropathology is present in their brains. This incongruity makes it difficult to distinguish between what counts as normal versus pathological and, further, makes it evident that social and biological processes contribute inseparably to aging. Lock argues that basic research must continue, but it should be complemented by a realistic public health approach available everywhere that will be more effective and more humane than one focused almost exclusively on an increasingly frenzied search for a cure.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lock's diligent survey of research, literature, conferences, and interviews from 2008 to 2012 follows events that led to a recasting of the phenomenon of Alzheimer disease as something to be prevented—and the lack of consensus on how to do so. She also calls for better care and social support for those living with the disease. Lock (An Anthropology of Biomedicine), McGill University professor of social studies of medicine, states that the stubborn conundrum of the most commonly diagnosed subcategory of dementia is that its biology, causes, and risk factors aren't very well understood. Lock proves that the science of the disease is just as compelling as poignant accounts from caregivers and those suffering with Alzheimer's disease. Lock highlights just how much we don't know, from problems with Alzheimer's pathology, testing, and diagnosis to the search for a drug treatment. The number of times the word ˜uncertainty' has been used in this book is remarkable, she notes. While science plugs away at solving the Alzheimer's conundrum, Lock's call for improved care and social support takes on a new urgency. (Nov.)

Review

"[A] diligent survey of research, literature, conferences, and interviews. . . . Lock proves that the science of the disease is just as compelling as poignant accounts from caregivers and those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Lock highlights just how much we don't know, from problems with Alzheimer's pathology, testing, and diagnosis to the search for a drug treatment. . . . While science plugs away at solving the Alzheimer's conundrum, Lock's call for improved care and social support takes on a new urgency."--Publishers Weekly

"[Lock] delivers key concepts in epidemiology, neuroscience and genetics in a way that is both scholarly and free of unnecessary technical details. Lock's bird's-eye view and mix of diverging sources of information is refreshing. . . . For its wide scope and balanced critical evaluation, The Alzheimer Conundrum is an inspiring read for everyone working in the field."--Eus Van Someren, Nature

"Comprehensive, cogent, and densely detailed, The Alzheimer Conundrum provides a useful antidote to media hype about 'silver bullets' that are 'just around the corner' and makes an important contribution to our understanding of an achingly tragic disease that touches virtually all of us."--Glenn Altschuler, Psychology Today

"The Alzheimer Conundrum: Entanglements of Dementia and Aging is a welcome addition to a body of work that has so productively explored the historical contingencies, cultural specificities, and philosophical dilemmas that surround and shape bodies and people's understandings and inhabitances of them."--Aaron Seaman, Somatosphere

"The Alzheimer Conundrum is a gem for young scientists and medical students, and it will challenge them to step back from traditional models, standardised diagnostic procedures and disease specificity to adopt a broader philosophical approach: when is a disease not a disease? . . . Lock's rigorous unpacking of research studies and refusal to accept statements and conclusions from research papers at face value result in a thorough and honest appraisal of the current state of the field. It will be a great help in understanding the confusion and conflicting evidence surrounding this highly important topic."--Rose Anne Kenny, Times Higher Education

"Lock's empirical account is a very welcome addition to the literature on biomedical uncertainty."--Des Fitzgerald, LSE Review of Books

Product Details

  • File Size: 1588 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 27, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F8MIJ3A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,222 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Henry
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book takes work to read as it uses many medical terms that are not familiar to the general consumer. I have a dictionary APP installed on my iPad that displays the definition as one goes simply by touching the word and it found these words so I was able to stay up with the narrative. If one is looking for something to give one hope that a solution to AD is in the immediate future than this book will be a major disappointment. The author is surveying the research landscape and its controversial nature including the political gamesmanship being played by individuals and organizations especially those committed to the arguably failed notion of BAP as the single interior brain mechanism causing AD.

Bottom line - i would think this would be valuable reading for researcher in AD or medical professional. If you are a consumer and your interest is in AD as a disease and how it might someday be controlled or eliminated like one might be interested in cancer or any other ubiquitous disease thn this is an interesting read. It can serve as a guide to how one might direct contributions, organizations to support and the extent of political involvement in the funding. AS note earlier it is not for the caregiver or sufferer looking for information that can be acted upon now.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lock brings enormous scholarship to this fascinating book on Alzheimer's Disease. It is the story of medical science and contemporary research and raises interesting philosophical and methodological questions about our current understandings of research, knowing, causality and truth in biomedical sciences. It was my first encounter with someone who gave clear expression to what is an emerging post-modern understanding of biology and biological processes.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the PDF file with Illustrations? December 20, 2013
Format:Audible Audio Edition
The narrator mentioned several times that a PDF with illustrations could be downloaded from where the audio edition was sold. Having the illustrations cited would have made the audio edition more meaningful. Is it too late to get that PDF file with illustrations cited?
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