The Alzheimer's Action Plan What You Need to Know--and What You Can Do--about Memory Problems, from Prevention to Early Intervention and Care

P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., and Lisa P. Gwyther, M.S.W., with Tina Adler

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

496 Pages



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Recipient of an Honorable Mention from The American Medical Writers Association

Five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, with a new diagnosis being made every seventy-two seconds, with millions more at risk. Although experts agree that early diagnosis and treatment are essential, families don't know where to turn for authoritative, state-of-the-art advice and answers to all of their questions.

Now, combining the insights of a world-class physician and an award-winning social worker, this ground-breaking book tells you everything you need to know, including: the best tests to determine if this is—or is not—Alzheimer's disease; the most (and least) effective medical treatments; coping with the effects; gaining access to the latest clinical trials; and understanding the future of Alzheimer's. Clear, compassionate, and empowering, The Alzheimer's Action Plan is a must-read for anyone seeking to deeply understand one of the most devastating and complex diseases of our time.


Praise for The Alzheimer's Action Plan

"I fully expect that this exceptionally well-written, reader-friendly book will become the standard resource for patients with Alzheimer disease and their loved ones."—JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)

"One of the best books about [Alzheimer's] to cross our desks."—The Wall Street Journal

"Dr. Doraiswamy has done a masterful job of communicating what the layman should know on the treatment, the caregiving, and, most important, the prevention of Alzheimer's. It was gratifying to learn about the mountain of evidence that what is good for your heart is also good for your brain."—Arthur Agatston, M.D., cardiologist and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The South Beach Diet

"The Alzheimer's Action Plan provides a clear and compelling message that there is something we can all do about Alzheimer's disease. The book presents accurate, up-to-date information and step-by-step recommendations that people with the disease, their families, and friends can use now to reduce the potentially devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease."—Katie Maslow, M.S.W., Associate Director of Quality Care Advocacy for the Alzheimer's Association and winner of the 2003 ASA Award from the American Society on Aging

"Most of us will either get Alzheimer's or care for a loved one who has. This action plan can empower you to make a difference."—Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, You: The Owner's Manual

"This book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide for the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer's disease. Whether you are a health care professional or have Alzheimer's in your family or are simply interested to living to an old age, this book is a must-read."—Deepak Chopra, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Perfect Health:The Complete Mind/Body Guide

"I love this book! A powerful and vital resource for people who need it the most. Dr. Doraiswamy is that unique blend of medical expertise mixed in with warmth and compassion topped off with humility that makes him rare and wonderful."—Leeza Gibbons, Emmy award-winning TV host and founder of Leeza's Place and the Memory Foundation

"A readable, informative and thorough guide to the early stages of Alzheimer disease. I highly recommend it."—Peter Rabins, M.D., co-author of The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring For Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life

"Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, one of America's top memory and Alzheimer's specialists, has packed this book with expert advice and compassionate wisdom, creating an indispensable guide for anyone concerned about their own memory or that of a loved one. Both accessible and comprehensive, this is a must-read not just for families, but for their doctors as well."—Gary Small, M.D., Director, UCLA Center on Aging, and author of The Memory Bible and The Longevity Bible

"Memory does matter. Adults across the life cycle are asking questions, many questions! The authors answer these questions for the educated public, family members who encounter memory loss in a loved one, and even adults who believe they are experiencing early memory loss. The answers are comprehensive and understandable, no small accomplishment given the plethora of new information available—information that at times is not only confusing but also conflicting. Ample sprinkling of case studies assure the reader that the authors not only read the literature, they listen to patients and families and take care of them."—Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D., former Dean of Medical Education, Duke University School of Medicine; past President of the American Geriatrics Society

"If you and your family face the specter of Alzheimer's disease, run—don't walk—to get Lisa Gwyther's help. She combines many years of experience with empathy and respect for the patient. That results in the most sensible, compassionate and practical advice. Her guidance in the creation of The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's, and The Forgetting's Web site, was invaluable. She is my hero."—Naomi S. Boak, Executive Producer, Emmy Award-winning PBS special, The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's

"Lisa Gwyther is a national treasure. She has been a pioneer in providing innovative care and education for Alzheimer's patients and their families for many years. Lisa's long experience helping families cope with the challenges of memory loss and Alzheimer's disease makes her uniquely qualified to co-author this book. Families experiencing the new world of memory loss and Alzheimer's couldn't ask for a better companion for the journey. Her warmth, compassion, and wisdom shine through, and will help light the way."—Pat Lynch, Director of Communications, Alzheimer's Center Program, National Institute on Aging

"Probably the most complete book we've seen on Alzheimer's in the many years we've looked at this disease."—AARP Prime Time Radio

"[The Alzheimer's Action Plan] offers cutting-edge information about diagnosis, care, and clinical trials . . . Organized into a bite-sized format; bullet points, boxes, and checklists make the information readily accessible . . . The authors aspire to give readers the tools to take charge of their diagnosis and medical treatment, to continue living with their loved ones at the highest possible level of social and emotional functioning, to understand clinical research, to enroll in a clinical trial if they wish, and to understand what to expect and how to prepare. With its broad scope, the book offers an interdisciplinary overview of medical, scientific, psychological, and personal perspectives on AD. To this reviewer, reading this book felt like having a best friend who works in the field of Alzheimer's and gives insider information about navigating the medical system."—The Alzheimer Research Forum

"Evidence-based content, conversational writing, and a good dose of humor make this an outstanding addition to collections on aging and caregiving and an excellent companion to Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins's The 36-Hour Day. Highly recommended . . . This book is based on the belief that people with Alzheimer's 'have the right to access the best, most personalized care possible.' Physician Doraiswamy and social worker Gwyther compile a wealth of essential information on all aspects of memory disorders for both new and experienced caregivers and individuals with failing memories. Detailed discussions cover causes and diagnoses, disease-related behavioral and emotional changes, available and future drug treatments, the benefits of participating in clinical trials, and more, along with a host of practical tips intended to enable caregivers and patients to live the best life possible. Resources include 'Our Top 40 Questions and Answers'; a list of dementia-related organizations, books, and web sites; and tips for maintaining a healthy brain."—Library Journal (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


"What Would You Do If She Were Your Mother?" (Answer: Take Action!)

Imagine this scenario: You're a career woman with a family. You've noticed that your mother's memory has been going downhill for a couple of years....

Read the full excerpt



  • P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D. on The Alzheimer's Action Plan

    Renowned expert on brain longevity and mental health, head of Duke University's Biological Psychiatry division and Senior Fellow at Duke's Center for the Study of Aging, P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D. discusses prevention, early intervention, and care of Alzheimer's in his book, The Alzheimer's Action Plan.

  • The Alzheimer's Action Plan: Brain Health Tips (part 1)

    Tips on prevention and treatment of memory problems from two of America's leading experts.

  • The Alzheimer's Action Plan: Brain Health Tips (part 2)

    Tips on prevention and treatment of memory problems from two of America's leading experts.

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  • P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., and Lisa P. Gwyther, M.S.W., with Tina Adler

  • P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., "a leading researcher in the field" (The Wall Street Journal), is Chief of Biological Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center.

    Lisa P. Gwyther, M.S.W., is the founding director of Duke's Alzheimer's Family Support Program and a former president of the Gerontological Society of America.

    Tina Adler is a science and health writer who has also cared for two family members who had Alzheimer's.

  • P. Murali Doraiswamy M.D.
  • Lisa P. Gwyther M.S.W.