When Illness Makes a Spouse a Stranger

Ruth French, 71, recognized her husband Michael French was acting out, becoming more stubborn, and turning into a person she hardly recognized.  After considering a divorce, she found out that Mr. French, 71, wasn’t simply acting out, he had prontotemporal dementia, a brain disease often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s or a variety of other cognitive disabilities.  The disease, which eats away at personality and language, still has no treatment.  With more cases like these being diagnosed, it has been suggested that the label Alzheimer’s disease may be misrepresenting what could be hundreds of different types of brain diseases.  Dr. Bruce L. Miller, professor of neurology and psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco said, “I think the way dementia is going in general now is to realize there are many different subtypes.”  
New York Times, by Denise Grady
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