Memory disorders are a type of cognitive decline that affect older adults. According to Prof. Eli Mizrahi, an expert in geriatrics and psychogeriatrics from the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, memory disorders can be classified into two types. The first type is known as “remembering” disorder, in which information is present in the brain but difficult to retrieve due to slow nerve transmission as we age. About 1-2% of those who suffer from this disorder will eventually develop dementia later in life.
The second type is a mild memory disorder called “Age Associated Memory Impairment,” which indicates a decrease in short-term memory and can lead to changes in brain tissue similar to those seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Approximately 12% of those who experience this mild memory disorder will develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Prof. Mizrahi explains that dementia is a decline in mental capacity that affects day-to-day functioning, while Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of about 60% of all dementia cases and initially affects higher functions such as driving and decision making before progressing to impairing basic actions such as bathing and eating.
In terms of Joe Biden’s forgetfulness during press conferences, Prof. Mizrahi notes that while it may not conclusively indicate a cognitive problem, there is room for concern based on his confusion with names and topics that the president should be expected to master. However, further assessment based on Biden’s day-to-day cognitive functioning, feedback from family and staff, and medical evaluation are necessary to make a proper evaluation.
Overall, memory disorders are common among older adults and can lead to significant cognitive decline if left untreated. It is essential to seek medical attention if you or someone you know is experiencing memory problems or other symptoms related to cognitive decline.