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BIO 98 — Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 11—Mar 15
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 13
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Victor W. Henderson
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jan 11—Mar 15
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 13
2 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Victor W. Henderson
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Gen Xers, millennials, and Boomers cite Alzheimer’s disease as an overriding concern for the years ahead. It is a tsunami that already affects 6 million Americans. Many things change as we transition into middle age and older adulthood, including memory and other mental abilities. Large declines in memory and cognition are referred to as dementia, and the leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Although Alzheimer’s is largely an illness of old age, biochemical changes precede clinical symptoms by well over a decade. Featuring faculty from the NIH-NIA 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 mild cognitive impairment and 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 between normal cognitive aging and dementia, and we will compare and contrast Alzheimer’s disease with other disorders that cause dementia, such as Lewy body disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. 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.

No experience is necessary, but some knowledge of freshman-level biology can be helpful in understanding the material.

Professor of Epidemiology & Population Health and of Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Stanford; Skou Professor of Neurology (honorary), Aarhus University, Denmark

Victor Henderson’s research focuses on risk factors for cognitive aging and dementia and on interventions to help prevent and treat these disorders. He directs the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and co-directs the master’s degree program in epidemiology and clinical research. He received an MD from Johns Hopkins and trained at Duke University, Washington University, Boston University, and the University of Washington.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.