Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Still Alice

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Still Alice

By Lisa Genova

Still Alice
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2009,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2009,
    320 pages.

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Alzheimer's Disease

First described by German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer in 1906, Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive brain disorder in which the nerve cells in the brain gradually die off. It afflicts an estimated 26 million people world-wide, and of those, approximately 4.5 million live in the United States. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the country and the fifth leading cause of death for those over age 65. 17% of women and 10% of men age 55 and older can expect to develop AD in their remaining lifetime (the difference between the genders is thought by most to be because of greater female longevity rather than an increased risk for women).

People may show early signs of the ailment for years, but if the symptoms are noticed at all they're most often attributed to old-age or stress. The most common indicator is short-term memory loss. As the illness progresses, Alzheimer's patients may experience ...

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