Club members experienced the wisdom of over 42 years of medical experience as Dr. Frank Marks spoke March 23rd on the symptoms and treatment of cognitive disorders in the elderly.
Dr. Marks explained that "dementia" is an umbrella term describing the gradual decline of cognitive functioning that can also affect motor, emotional, and social function.  "Alzheimer's" is a neurological disorder affecting up to 50% of all persons over 80 and affects the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.  He described methods for conducting neuropsychological exams to determine whether someone is experiencing the normal temporary forgetfulness associated with getting older or whether there might be a more serious concern.  Asking someone to draw a clock showing the hands at 11:10, recalling a list of words, and being able to count backwards by 7 were examples he used in his practice.
Dr. Marks explained that for suspect examinations, doctors normally perform tests to identify if there are physiological causes such as hydrocephalus, B12 deficiency, or hypothyroidism.
It was obvious by the number of questions from club members that this topic was timely, informative, and personal.  We express our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Frank Marks for helping the Rappahannock Rotary club better understand these conditions.