Language and medicine: thinking and talking about Alzheimer's disease.


The scene is familiar to most physicians: the doctor, the daughter, and the patient, a woman in her 80s. The history and physical are completed. The patient is old, and her body is beginning to fail. She is forgetful. At some point, the daughter asks the question: “Doctor, is this Alzheimer’s disease?” There are many possible answers. I never say “yes… (More)