Review: The Spectrum of Hope
by Gayatri Devi, M.D.
Workman, October 2017
Contrary to popular opinion, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is not a death sentence. Recent developments in neuroscience offer hope to those affected by Alzheimer’s. According to Dr. Devi, Alzheimer’s is a spectrum of maladies, similar to autism. It’s not an absolute disease like measles. Dr. Devi’s book is required reading for those who fear they may be losing their memory, and especially for caregivers and friends of those already diagnosed.
Diagnosis itself is complex, and it’s essential to get an early workup in order to establish best-case interventions, or to sort out other conditions that also affect memory and brain function. Depending on the area of the brain affected, and circumstantial factors in a patient’s genetic, health, and lifestyle profile, the label “Alzheimer’s” is complex, variable, and manageable beyond what popular stereotypes have previously dictated.
The Spectrum of Hope narrates a wealth of patient case studies, written in anecdotal and accessible tone. Dr. Devi balances exquisite storytelling with facts about medication, lifestyle modification, and caregivers’ roles. Reading this book dispelled some of my fears about mental decline, and at the same time offered ideas for interacting empathically with friends and family members affected by Alzheimer’s.