16 May, 2015

The Last Day of Her Life - NYTimes.com

The Last Day of Her Life - NYTimes.com: Mapstone showed Sandy a line drawing and asked her to copy it, and then to draw it from memory 10 minutes later. He read her a list of words and had her recall as many as she could. He gave her two numbers and two letters and asked her to rearrange them in a particular order: low letter, high letter, low number, high number. Thank goodness that last one wasn’t timed, she thought to herself, as she focused all her mental energy on the task. She felt as gleeful as a kid who had earned a gold star when Mapstone said, “Yes, that’s right.”

After three hours, Mapstone gave a preliminary diagnosis: amnestic mild cognitive impairment. At first Sandy was relieved — he had said mild, hadn’t he? — but then she caught the look on his face. This is not a good thing, Mapstone told her gently; most cases of amnestic M.C.I. progress to full-�blown Alzheimer’s disease within 10 years.