Is it dementia? Dr. Jason Karlawish helps you identify the signs

Aging happens differently for everyone and forgetting some details for daily tasks is not always cause for alarm. But there are signs that you or a loved one are showing signs of dementia or other diseases, like Alziemer’s. Dr. Jason Karlawish published an article with AARP as part of their Disrupt Dementia campaign.

Dr. Karlawish a researcher on the Healthy Brain Research Network and the Cognitive Aging Communication Project, both funded supplements to the UPenn Prevention Research Center. He also serves as the director of the Penn Memory Center.  Dr. Karlawish writes about what to look for and the risks involved with allowing the disease to progress without intervention.

Read about the signs to look for and his personal experience with an aging parent here. Tweet about your experiences, using the hashtag #DisruptDementia and tag @AARP and @jasonkarlwish.

PRC Researcher Jason Karlawish in Forbes: Alzheimer’s Disease Patients Aren’t Zombies

In Forbes,  PRC Researcher Jason Karlawish, MD, challenges the social stigmatizing of Alzheimer’s in an article titled “Alzheimer’s Disease Patients Aren’t Zombies; They’re People And We Need To Treat Them Like People.”  Karlawish said, ” The inspiration came from a class I taught this semester on the public health challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.  The students and I discussed the stories of Alice Munro and how they pull the reader in and out of different realities.  The lives of the patient and the caregiver aren’t a juxtaposition of the unreal versus the real.  They both live in the surreal.  The challenge of living with Alzheimer’s disease, whether as patient or caregiver, is to negotiate this “surreality.”

Scarcity of Alzheimer’s Doctors Harms Patients and Wastes Resources – Jason Karlawish, MD

In the February 9, 2017 issue of Forbes, PRC Researcher Jason Karlawish, MD, says the lack of qualified Alzheimer’s doctors is a significant problem in US healthcare.  “We need doctors to care for the millions of people who are losing their capacity to exercise their autonomy or who are at risk of losing that capacity. How will we do this?”   Asking ” how did one of the wealthiest and most technologically innovative nations reach this situation?” Karlawish identifies several impediments which drive providers away from specializing in Alzheimer’s. “Doctors are actors in the healthcare system they practice in. They’re economic actors. They follow the money. Better and more expensive drugs and diagnostic tests are one way to incentivize more physicians to become Alzheimer’s doctors. Loan repayments and affordable medical school tuition could help as well. But why should the costs of technologies and tuition drive this? We need to incentivize doctors to take care of patients. We should focus on quality care, and we need to do this now.”

Framing Alzheimer’s Disease as a Humanitarian Crisis: Jason Karlawish in Forbes


Writing in Forbes Magazine, UPenn PRC Researcher Jason Karlawish, MD, asks what it means when an Alzheimer’s patient loses the autonomy to live safely in his or her home and turns to adult day care, assisted living, or other types of facilities. “Refugees need asylum, and those exiled from their home by Alzheimer’s disease should be able to find safe harbor in these places,” says Karlawish. “We ought to view moving there not as a failure to care but as part of the story of leaving one home for another.”

Broadening our understanding of Alzheimer’s beyond the medical diagnosis is a next step, according to Karlawish. “Framing Alzheimer’s as a humanitarian crisis ties together the many diverse but interconnected sufferings: the millions of caregivers who struggle to make a typical day for the patients, struggle because their will to care is frustrated by a system ill-equipped to educate them about what to do, where to find care and how to pay for it. It explains how the causes of the Alzheimer’s crisis aren’t simply a biomedical problem in need of better drugs but a social, economic and political problem.”