Alzheimer’s Action Day Interview: Reisa Sperling

Today is Alzheimer’s Action Day. In recognition of that, I interviewed Dana Alliance member Reisa Sperling, M.D., the director at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

How can someone tell the difference between normal cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease?

It’s part of normal aging to have momentary lapses where you can’t remember where you put your keys or the name of the actress you saw in a movie last week. What I think is not normal is forgetting ReisaSperlingyou went to the movies at all or forgetting you drove your car that day. It is somewhat a matter of degree. It’s whether you remember that you forget. If you are actively searching for your keys, that is part of normal aging. But some people forget they even lost their keys. It’s hard to have an absolute answer because the earlier you go back in Alzheimer’s disease the closer it gets to what is probably the overlap with normal aging. I try to determine the difference.

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