The Many Faces of Dementia: Alzheimer’s myths |

The Many Faces of Dementia: Alzheimer’s myths

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have afflicted nearly 8 million people in the United States. Nearly 5.4 million have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

California, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, has more than 500,000 people diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease and Nevada County has more than 3,000 people with diagnosed Alzheimer’s.

So far, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year, we are closer to accurately diagnosing Alzheimer’s in early stages, and we have identified drugs that may slow down the debilitating process.

But there is a long way to go to have solid answers and cures. And whenever there isn’t a solid answer, all sorts of solutions and cures come to the surface.

When we look at the Internet under “cures for Alzheimer’s disease,” we find hundreds upon hundreds of references. When we look up “cause” and such words as “symptoms” we again find an almost endless list.

The feared and unknown give rise to a number of myths. Some of the myths surrounding Alzheimer’s disease include the following: These are true or false answers. Try your knowledge:

Myth 1: Memory loss is a natural part of aging for most people.

Myth 2: Alzheimer’s disease is not fatal.

Myth 3: Only people older than 65 can get Alzheimer’s.

Myth 4: Drinking out of aluminum cans or cooking in aluminum pots and pans can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Myth 5: Aspartame causes memory loss and leads to Alzheimer’s.

Myth 6: Flu shots increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Myth 7: Silver dental fillings increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Myth 8: There are treatments available to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Myth 9: Ginkgo biloba, fish oil, vitamins B6, B12, C, E and folic acid have all been proven to be preventative food supplements.

Myth 10: Proper treatment and medications will stop the course of Alzheimer’s or bring someone back to normal.

Myth 11: People with higher education levels have a faster memory decline.

Myth 12: People of ethnicity, such as African Americans, Latinos and Asians, have a lower rate of diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Myth 13: If someone in my family, such as a parent, has Alzheimer’s, then I will surely get it.

Myth 14: If I stay in good health, I will not get Alzheimer’s

The answers to all the above are false except Myth No. 1.

If you have a concern about your memory or that of someone you love, visit with a health care professional, discuss the memory issues, get a complete physical, look for other reasons for memory loss, get a second opinion and, if all diagnoses point toward dementia, begin the process of learning and, as appropriate, caregiving.

Understanding is an important part of living with Alzheimer’s.

Someday there will be a way for early diagnosis and hopefully a cure.

Tor Eckert has been involved all facets of Alzheimer’s disease since the 2005 including owning a Alzheimer’s Care Home. His public speaking forums — The Many Faces of Dementia have provided health care professionals, adult children, caregivers and families with a better of understanding of Alzheimer’s and the other dementias. For information, please call Eckert at (530) 432-8308 or email

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