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By D.F. Swaab, E. Fliers, M. Mirmiran, W.A. Van Gool and F. Van Haaren (Eds.)

ISBN-10: 0444807934

ISBN-13: 9780444807939

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Other clinicians are in favour of performing a biopsy. Could you explain to us why we are against it? ANSWER: I said that in purely ‘probabilistic’ medicine, a biopsy would be indicated in suspected Alzheimer’s disease. Decision analysis would not lead to biopsy, because there is some morbidity and no therapeutic gain. There are other situations where a biopsy is indicated. In addition, if effective treatment would become available for Alzheimer’s disease, biopsy could become indicated. E. MENA: Finding a quantifiable change in AD patients is important in being able to evaluate any potential treatment.

Word finding difficulties are seldom observed in normal aging, in contrast to difficulties with respect to finding names or episodes (see below, ‘memory functions’). Several authors suggest that the fairly stable verbal IQ in ‘normal’ aging is a manifestation of the verbal functions which do not deterior- 17 ate with age (see below, ‘intellectual functions’ and Botwinnick, 1981). Dementia. Language deficits are a frequently observed symptom in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (Strub and Black, 1977, 1981).

Besides, there is a quite considerable variation due to personality characteristics, as premorbid personality tends to be exaggerated in the first stages. This may explain an important part of the individual differences within a group of patients that may be pathogenetically homogenous. Whereas Reisberg (1983) differentiates seven stages in the disease process and Strub and Black (1981) discern four stages, others differentiate only between ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ and ‘severe’ dementia, but the criteria used for the inclusion of a patient in the different groups are usually vague.

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Aging of the Brain and Alzheimer's Disease by D.F. Swaab, E. Fliers, M. Mirmiran, W.A. Van Gool and F. Van Haaren (Eds.)

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