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A book to remember

RIPTON Odds are youre worried about your memory almost everyone is and with good reason. Five million Americans already have Alzheimers disease, a number that will triple over the next forty years. And that is only one kind of dementia. As local author Sue Halpern found out in the five years she spent in the labs of cutting-edge neuroscientists around the world, starting at about age thirty-five, 100 percent of us thats right, every single one of us, without exception will experience memory loss. Its no wonder were concerned. So what does the future hold? In Cant Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research (Harmony Books), Halpern finds out. She visits mice nurseries and pharmaceutical companies, attends scientific meetings, spends time in examining rooms as patients are diagnosed with Alzheimers, happens to be in the lab when the first Alzheimers risk gene in a decade is discovered, observes the Memory Olympics, and goes to Mars the candy company, not the planet where food scientists are working on a chocolate product that they claim has the ability to grow new neurons in the brain. She also gets her own head examined with PET scans, SPECT scans, two kinds of MRIs, and hours of old-fashioned, no. 2 pencil-and-paper tests, despite the fear that they will reveal something she does not want to know. Cant Remember What I Forgot is as much a personal quest as it is an intellectual journey. Halperns father had dementia before he died, and his doctors couldnt say if he had Alzheimers or not. Frustrated by their uncertainty, Halpern was distressed by the literature about memory loss that seemed to bounce between the unexamined, easy advice of self-help and the inaccessible language of neurology and genetics. Halpern not only debunks some of the more common myths surrounding Alzheimers disease and normal memory loss, she also provides readers with information about important discoveries being made in these fields. Cant Remember What I Forgot is full of vital knowledge and a solid dose of hope. Halpern is a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College. She lives locally with her husband, author Bill McKibben, and their daughter, Sophie.

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