Brené with Jason Karlawish, M.D. on
The Problem of Alzheimer’s
This week, I have a tough, loving conversation about dementia and Alzheimer’s with Jason Karlawish, physician, researcher, professor, clinician, and author of The Problem of Alzheimer’s: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It. This heartbreakingly common diagnosis creates multiple patients—both the diagnosed and the caregivers. We talk about the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, how we respond to a disease that diminishes our autonomy, and what we can do to take care of ourselves and each other.
Jason Karlawish, M.D.
Jason Karlawish is a physician and writer. He researches and writes about issues at the intersections of bioethics, aging, and the neurosciences. He is the author of the novel Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont and his essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and Co-Director of the Penn Memory Center, where he cares for patients. He lives in Philadelphia.
The Problem of Alzheimer’s: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Jason Karlawish is part case studies and part meditation on the past, present and future of the disease. It traces Alzheimer’s from its beginnings to its recognition as a crisis. While it is an unambiguous account of decades of missed opportunities and our health care systems’ failures to take action, it tells the story of the biomedical breakthroughs that may allow Alzheimer’s to finally be prevented and treated by medicine and also presents an argument for how we can live with dementia: the ways patients can reclaim their autonomy and redefine their sense of self, how families can support their loved ones, and the innovative reforms we can make as a society that would give caregivers and patients better quality of life. Rich in science, history, and characters, The Problem of Alzheimer’s takes us inside laboratories, patients’ homes, caregivers’ support groups, progressive care communities, and Jason Karlawish’s own practice at the Penn Memory Center.
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