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The Fragile Mind

The Fragile Mind
title The Fragile Mind
subtitle The Alzheimer Enigma
publisher Raffaello Cortina Editore
format Book
language Italian
pages 136
publication 2018
ISBN Benini2018ITA

Alzheimer strikes fear into the heart even before its symptoms become apparent. It is feared because there is no known cure and the appearance of normal cognitive deficits are enough to cause worry that the disease is in the offing. But it is not true that Alzheimer is inevitable: more than 50% of people who are older than eighty are not affected by it.
The book analyzes the normal decline of our cognitive faculties with the passage of time; it presents the general profile and progression of the disease and offers solidly grounded opinions
on its nature, promising forms of prevention and palliative measures. In particular, it examines the only form of prevention that, according to convincing data, seems to work, and which
is recommended for a longer and better life: no tobacco, no or a little alcohol, a healthy diet, weight kept under control, physical activity. 
A third of dementia cases seem to be attributable to midlife hypertension, cardiovascular disturbances, midlife obesity, diabetes or depression. All these are potentially modificable risk factors. The book also deals with the ethical dilemmas in the care of dementia. Alzheimer is dramatic for those affected and for their families and is a threat to the survival of the species. To know what has been discovered up to now in this field contributes to rational dealing with a real danger.


Textual index

1. Aging, senescense, dementia
2. Neurons do not reproduce
3. The dilemma of cognitive decline
4. Alois Alzheimer
5. The cascade of amyloids and the end
of an illusion
6. Alzheimer: a syndrome, not a disease
7. The reality of senile dementia and Alzheimer
8. The patient suffering from dementia
9. Stages of mental aging and dementia
10. Sense of time in aging and dementia
11. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: what can be done?
12. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: palliative measures
13. The End of Life. Biological testament and dementia
14. Ethics and the “early diagnosis” of dementia
15. Conclusion

Author biography

Arnaldo Benini is Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurology at the University of Zurich. He contributes to the Science and Philosophy section of the Sunday edition
of the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

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