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Living with Alzheimer'sManaging Memory Loss, Identity, and Illness$
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Renée L. Beard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479800117

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479800117.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

The Meaning of Memory Loss

The Meaning of Memory Loss

Illness, Identity, and Biography

(p.5) 1 The Meaning of Memory Loss
Living with Alzheimer's

Renée L. Beard

NYU Press

This introductory chapter presents the topic of the book, Alzheimer’s illness narratives, and outlines the remaining chapters. While AD is currently constructed as a problem of epidemic proportion, such perceptions were not always the case. Scientific debate about the qualitative difference between age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s persists, as does skepticism regarding the efficacy of treatment alternatives. Yet the overwhelming majority of research efforts and monies remain narrowly focused on cause and cure. This focus on prevention erases the everyday lived experiences of AD for those currently diagnosed and their family members alike. Contemporary epidemiological projections engender a crisis rhetoric that may contribute to mis-/overdiagnoses of Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment, and/or the conflation of memory loss and AD. In the 110-year quest to understand Alzheimer’s, and the rhetoric of global devastation and annihilation of selfhood which have accompanied it, we too often ignore the very experiences of the condition.

Keywords:   Alzheimer’s illness narratives, misdiagnosis, overdiagnosis, lived experiences of AD, crisis rhetoric, mild cognitive impairment

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