WESTBOROUGH, MA November 10, 2016 You may be interested in the Clock of the week on this day after the presidential election of Donald J. Trump. It was drawn by a male with obvious cognitive dysfunction. The task is simple – draw a clock and set the hands for 11:10. In this case the patient became stuck. He asked me “how do I do it” and I replied start with the circle. As you may notice the man drew the large circle quite well. I thought to myself “hmm, not bad”. Next he drew one small circle after another. Finally he was able to approximate the minute hand only – as you can plainly see it is set juxtapose where the 2 might be.
Dementia is an insidious neurological disease that robs patients of their mental functioning – including memory, problem solving and the capacity to think with critical acumen. The late president Ronald Reagan succumbed to dementia of the Alzheimer’s type in 2004 after a decade of declining cognitive prowess. He was 69 when he entered the White House. It has grown more prevalent in the past decade. Neuropsychologists are uniquely qualified to manage the cognitive and behavioral changes associated with dementia. There is no cure for dementia at the present time. Exercise and mental activity are two components of maintaining a healthy mind and body into one’s old age. My practice is filled with older patients many of whom do not believe in the adage about old age being “the golden years”. In fact, many older patients are lonely and demoralized. Many are afraid of what the next president may do to their healthcare, housing and social security pensions.
Let us hope that our next president will maintain his mental faculties well into old age. His somewhat unbridled behavior is not unlike that of patients suffering with some forms of dementia that negatively impacts judgment, planning and decision-making. Mr. Trump will be 70 years old when he enters the White House in January 2017. The oldest man to ever be elected to the office of the president.