BIO 98 — Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Jan 19—Mar 16
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Jan 21
Instructor(s): Victor W. Henderson
Boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials cite Alzheimer’s disease as an overriding concern for the years ahead. It is described as a tsunami, already affecting over 5 million Americans. Many things change as we transition into middle age and older adulthood, including our memory and other mental skills. Large declines in memory and cognition are referred to as dementia, and the leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Although it is largely an illness of old age, early biochemical changes precede clinical symptoms by well over a decade. Featuring distinguished faculty from the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, this course provides an in-depth overview of cognitive changes over the normal lifespan and reviews evolving concepts of dementia. We will look at what Alzheimer’s disease is and is not, what parts of the brain are affected, and why the disorder sometimes runs in families. We will consider differences among cognitive aging, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease; and we will compare and contrast Alzheimer’s disease with other disorders that cause dementia. We will also address modern approaches to diagnosis and treatment, new therapies, potential preventive strategies, and challenges faced by Alzheimer’s caregivers. The course will conclude with a discussion of controversies in the field, focused on topics identified by students.