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As more of us live longer, the fear of an old age devastated by brain diseases like dementia is growing. Many people are already facing the challenges posed by these progressive and terminal conditions, whether in person or because they are caring for loved ones. Dementia is now the fifth most common cause of death across the world. It is a small wonder that understanding, preventing, and finally curing these illnesses is now a global priority. Recent advances in brain research have given scientists a better chance than ever of finding ways to help patients, carers, and clinicians dealing with dementia. Yet there is still no effective treatment. Why has progress been so slow? And what can we all do to reduce our chances of getting the disease? In this Very Short Introduction Kathleen Taylor offers a guide to the science of dementia and brain ageing. Never forgetting the human costs of brain disorders - movingly illustrated throughout the book - she also discusses their costs to society. Clearly explaining the research, she sets out the main ideas which have driven dementia science, and the new contenders hoping to make a breakthrough. Taylor also looks at risk factors, and how to lower our chances of succumbing to dementia. Assessing current and potential treatments, including both drugs and other approaches, she explains, clearly and gently, what help is available for someone who is diagnosed with dementia, and how to boost the chances of living well with the condition. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
About the Author
Kathleen Taylor studied physiology and philosophy at the University of Oxford. After a research MSc at Stirling University, working on brain chemistry, she returned to Oxford to do a DPhil in visual neuroscience and postdoctoral work on cognitive neuroscience. In 2003 she won two national writing awards, and decided to leave the uncertain and challenging world of academic science for the even more uncertain and challenging world of science writing. Her interests range across brain research and psychology - from consciousness to cruelty, dyslexia to dementia. Her work includes four books published by OUP: Brainwashing (about psychological manipulation), Cruelty (why people choose to hurt others), The Brain Supremacy (how neuroscience is changing society), and The Fragile Brain (dementia).