Thinking Through Dementia by Professor Julian C. Hughes (MB ChB 1988)

Dementia affects millions of people throughout the world. This book is unique in exploring the complex philosophical issues regarding our understanding and treatment of this disorder. It provides a critique of the main models used to understand this disorder, and attempts unification of these approaches, with clear implications for treatment.

With a rapidly expanding elderly poputation, there has been a marked increase in the incidence of dementia, and this dreadful, debilitating illness now affects - directly or indirectly - millions of people across the world. Dementia throws up a number of particular clinical, ethical, and conceptual problems, which mostly reflect complicated evaluative decisions, for instance about diagnosis and the distinction between normal and abnormal ageing.

Different disciplines approach dementia in different ways - thus there are disease, cognitive neuropsychology, and social constructivist models of dementia, Underlying these models and approaches, each of which is clinically useful, are various and differing conceptual commitments. These models carry ethical implications concerning how we ought to treat people suffering from dementia.

Thinking through Dementia offers a critique of the main models used to understand dementia-the biomedical, neuropsychological, and social constructionist. It discusses both clinical issues and cases, together with philosophical work that might help us better understand and treat this illness. Drawing on philosophical critique of models of dementia, as well as empirical data and clinical experience, the book unifies the biological, psychological, and social accounts of illness and disease.

Highly original and thought provoking, this book will interest psychiatrists, philosophers, psychologists, and anyone involved in the care and management of those with dementia.