Treating Dementia: Do We Have a Pill for It?

Edited by Jesse F. Ballenger, Peter J. Whitehouse, Constantine G. Lyketsos, Peter V. Rabins, and Jason Karlawish

Treatments for age-related dementia and the growing reliance on pharmaceuticals to alleviate its worst symptoms raise a number of questions about attitudes toward aging and cognition, the relationship between growing older and getting sick, and the conflicting interests of patients, caregivers, physicians, scientists, and business. This volume aims to foster a constructive debate about the future of dementia treatment by providing multiple perspectives on these tangled issues.

The first section examines how the concepts of dementia have expanded to encompass a broad range of symptoms and the implications of this evolution on the development of pharmaceutical treatments. The second section explores the use and effectiveness of drug treatments for dementia through the perspectives of a clinician, a researcher, and a layperson. In the third section, the contributors probe how culture, language, and values affect the overlapping worlds of pharmacology, drug marketing, and dementia treatment. A final section elucidates the thorny ethical and policy concerns surrounding the often-conflicting hopes for dementia medications.

Featuring contributions from noted clinicians, researchers, and scholars from a broad range of disciplines, this multidisciplinary dialogue addresses central questions about the history and future of drug treatment for dementia and makes clear why there are no simple answers. Professionals and students involved in gerontology, psychiatry, and bioethics will find the discussion both enlightening and practical.

Reviews

“An interdisciplinary analysis of the development of drugs for Alzheimer disease. Alongside and intertwined with the theme of drug development is thorough scrutiny of the concepts of Alzheimer disease and dementia from a wealth of viewpoints.”

-Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)