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Normal Cognitive Aging, Mild Cognitive Impairment, or Alzheimer’s Disease: How to Tell the Difference and Why it Matters
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Often an aging patient or client will say and ask: “I just don’t remember as well as I used to … am I getting Alzheimer’s?”.  Clinically, you must ask yourself, is this normal cognitive aging, mild cognitive impairment, or the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.  In this session, we’ll review the basics of brain structure and function, describe the five main areas of cognition, learn about some office-based cognitive assessment instruments that require a few to 10-15 minutes to deliver and how to interpret them, identify the essential components of a dementia work-up including reversible causes of memory loss such as depression, and discuss why this matters given we now have three FDA-approved drugs to treat early Alzheimer’s.  Informative yet practical, this session will equip you with knowledge and skills you can use in your practice setting starting today! 

Edward G. Shaw, MD, MA, Empath Education, LLC

Edward G. Shaw, MD, MA is dually trained as a physician and mental health counselor. He was the primary care partner for his late wife, Rebecca, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2007 at age 53 and died in 2016 after a 9-year journey. Ed was a practicing academic radiation oncologist for 23 years, specializing in the treatment of adults and children with brain cancer. In 2010, inspired by Rebecca’s journey, his medical interest shifted to dementia diagnosis and treatment, and with his addition training in mental health counseling, he founded the Memory Counseling Program in 2011, part of the Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine and the Sticht Center on Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The program serves individuals, couples, and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.

He is the author of four books. Along with coauthors Deborah Barr and Dr. Gary Chapman, he wrote Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey, which describes his moving personal story of care for Rebecca coupled with an innovative use of the 5 love languages in dementia counseling. He also wrote The Dementia Care Partner’s Workbook, a support group manual and self-study guide for dementia care partners, providing understanding, education, and hope for the long journey of dementia caregiving from diagnosis through end-of-life. He has also co-authored two resources for support group leaders, A Leader’s Manual for Dementia Care Partner Support Groups and A Support Group for People Living with Dementia: The Leaders Manual.

 

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Edward Shaw receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Edward Shaw has no relevant non-financial relationships.

 


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