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Society today, writes Stephen Post, is "hypercognitive": it places inordinate emphasis on people's powers of rational thinking and memory. Thus, Alzheimer disease and other dementias, which over an extended period incrementally rob patients of exactly those functions, raise many dilemmas. How are we to view—and value—persons deprived of what some consider the most important human capacities? In the second edition of The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease, Post updates his highly praised account of the major ethical issues relating to dementia care. With chapters organized to follow the progression from mild to severe and then terminal stages of dementia, Post discusses topics including the experience of dementia, family caregiving, genetic testing for Alzheimer disease, quality of life, and assisted suicide and euthanasia. New to this edition are sections dealing with end-of-life issues (especially artificial nutrition and hydration), the emerging cognitive-enhancing drugs, distributive justice, spirituality, and hospice, as well as a critique of rationalistic definitions of personhood. The last chapter is a new summary of practical solutions useful to family members and professionals. -- Peter M. Jucovey
Written by an eminent authority from the American Academy of Neurology's Committee on Ethics, Law, and Humanities, this book is an excellent text for all clinicians interested in ethical decision-making. The book features outstanding presentations on dying and palliative care, physician-assisted suicide and voluntary active euthanasia, medical futility, and the relationship between ethics and the law. New chapters in this edition discuss how clinicians resolve ethical dilemmas in practice and explore ethical issues in neuroscience research. Other highlights include updated material on palliative sedation, advance directives, ICU withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy, gene therapy, the very-low-birth-weight premature infant, the developmentally disabled patient, informed consent, organizational ethics, brain death controversies, and fMRI and PET studies relating to persistent vegetative state.
Aging is a fact of life, and issues surrounding it are hot. There are currently 35 million Americans over the age of sixty-five -- more than ever. This demographic shift is noteworthy not only because the ranks of the elderly will continue to swell in coming years but also because it is taking place in what the editors of this book call an "ageist society," one that increasingly loathes every facet of aging. Indeed, the ethical issues associated with aging are among the thorniest in medicine and public policy today. Aging, Death, and the Quest for Immortality is a timely volume by physicians, health-care professionals, pastors, and ethicists who explore the experiences, dilemmas, and possibilities associated with aging. The book opens by offering three distinct perspectives on aging; this section includes practical suggestions for dealing with retirement, disability, healing, and death. Several contributors then analyze controversial ethical issues raised by aging and health care, including medical decision-making, the moral standing of patients with dementia, health-care rationing, and assisted suicide. A third group of essays applies a theology of care to ministry to and through older adults, the counseling of seniors, and the application of palliative care. The book closes by discussing some of the emerging technologies and interest groups aimed at achieving immortality, also asking, appropriately, what insights the Christian faith brings to the discussion. Reflecting much wisdom and sensitivity, this book will give welcome help to care providers and to those who are themselves in the later stages of life. Book jacket.
The genetics of Alzheimer disease has been a point of intense concern and immense informational confusion for families in which a loved one is diagnosed with dementia. In recent years, however, scientists have begun to uncover the genetic bases for some forms of Alzheimer disease. Once a chromosomal defect is identified, it becomes possible to devise a test for its presence. The far-reaching implications of such tests are the focus of the present volume. In Genetic Testing for Alzheimer Disease, Stephen G. Post and Peter J. Whitehouse bring together experts from the fields of ethics, genetics, policy, neurology, philosophy, and anthropology to examine the ethical and social aspects of genetic testing for Alzheimer disease. The authors begin by focusing on current genetic findings and their clinical applicability. They then address ethical issues in genetic testing and genetic counseling for Alzheimer disease. They examine social issues such as confidentiality, discrimination, and fairness in health care. Finally, they discuss ways to educate professionals and laypeople regarding these issues. Contributors: Robert H. Binstock, Ph.D.?Thomas D. Bird, M.D. ? Robert Mullan Cook-Deegan, M.D.? Leonard Fleck, Ph.D. ? Atwood D. Gaines, Ph.D, M.P.H. ? Eric T. Juengst, Ph.D. ? Harry Karlinsky, M.D. ? Steven Miles, M.D. ? Thomas H. Murray, Ph.D. ? Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. ? Kimberly A. Quaid, Ph.D. ? Allen D. Roses, M.D. ? Greg A. Sachs, M.D. ? Peter H. St. George-Hyslop, M.D. ? Bonnie Steinbock, Ph.D. ? Arthur B. Zinn, M.D., Ph.D.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER A powerfully engaging, scrupulously researched, and deeply empathetic narrative of the history of Alzheimer’s disease, how it affects us, and the search for a cure. Afflicting nearly half of all people over the age of 85, Alzheimer’s disease kills nearly 100,000 Americans a year as it insidiously robs them of their memory and wreaks havoc on the lives of their loved ones. It was once minimized and misunderstood as forgetfulness in the elderly, but Alzheimer’s is now at the forefront of many medical and scientific agendas, for as the world’s population ages, the disease will touch the lives of virtually everyone. David Shenk movingly captures the disease’s impact on its victims and their families, and he looks back through history, explaining how Alzheimer’s most likely afflicted such figures as Jonathan Swift, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Willem de Kooning. The result is a searing and graceful account of Alzheimer’s disease, offering a sobering, compassionate, and ultimately encouraging portrait.
Positive conceptions of ‘healthy aging’ are rightly displacing negative ageist perceptions of older members of our society. Nevertheless, at some stage, most elderly citizens will require some form of assistance from other members of society. When the body or mind begins to fail, a legitimate need for intervention and care will arise. This second volume on Aging discusses this theme.

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