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The Alzheimer's Action Plan    by P. Murali Doraiswamy, Lisa P. Gwyther & Tina Adler order for
Alzheimer's Action Plan
by P. Murali Doraiswamy
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Doctor P. Murali Doraiswamy and Lisa Gwyther, authors of The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems, have written the definitive resource for Alzheimer's victims and their families. Wow! I hardly know where to begin praising this book; it is helpful on so many levels.

I currently have two family members in the middle stage of Alzheimer's, so I was examining this book with a keen eye. Alzheimer's families don't want platitudes, incomprehensible medical jargon, or being shielded from the truth. They do want to know how to continue to find joy in life after this devastating diagnosis. The Alzheimer's Action Plan meets those very needs.

The authors' warmth lifts from the books' pages like a comforting hug. Think Marcus Welby. You will feel your heart settling down, the panic dissipating as you again enjoy that feeling of control while you digest the straightforward, practical information about meeting the challenges of Alzheimer's disease.

The Alzheimer's Action Plan is divided into six sections, plus there is a resources section and two appendices. The book begins by discussing the importance of early and accurate diagnosis, and ends with responses to the top 40 questions frequently asked by Alzheimer's patients and their families.

The authors suggest effective ways to address mental changes, personality changes, resistance to offered help - and, even suggest when not to help. Practical advice is given to ease the Alzheimer's victim's confusion and difficulty with decision making. A mostly objective analysis of drugs used in Alzheimer's treatment, and an overview of some clinical trials, is related in The Alzheimer's Action Plan, too.

Although holding obvious biases favoring conventional medicine over complementary and alternative treatment (CAM), the authors do inform the reader of the effectiveness of CAM therapies in treating Alzheimer's, and about an especially encouraging clinical trial underway using ginkgo biloba, used for centuries by alternative health practitioners for memory issues.

If you are a health care provider, recommend The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems to your Alzheimer's patients and their families. Still, this book is not directed primarily to doctors, it's directed to those who suspect or who have received a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, and to their families. This book will be a powerful aid to regaining that elusive sense of control, and even joy.

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