Prof. Eli Mizrahi, a geriatrics and psychogeriatrics expert from the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, explains that memory disorders encompass two different types of disorders. The first type is a benign disorder, known as a ‘remembering’ disorder, where the information is present in the brain but difficult to retrieve. This disorder is common as people grow older, and around one or two percent of those who experience this may later develop dementia. The second type is a mild memory disorder, known as Age Associated Memory Impairment, which indicates a decrease in short-term memory and could lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s in 12% of cases.
Prof. Mizrahi describes the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s, explaining that dementia is a decline in mental capacity that affects day-to-day functioning. He emphasizes that dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease affects higher functions initially and progresses to impairing basic actions as it advances.
Concerns have been raised about President Joe Biden’s forgetfulness and whether it indicates a cognitive problem. Prof. Mizrahi, who has specialized in neurology and Alzheimer’s, stated that it is not possible to assess Biden’s cognitive state based on press conferences alone. However, he suggested that confusion with names, especially related to important topics, raises concern and may warrant further investigation into day-to-day cognitive function.
Prof. Mizrahi emphasized the importance of consulting with Biden’s family members and staff to gain insight into his cognitive function. He suggested that beyond confusion with names, signs of cognitive decline in daily activities and interactions would be important to consider in an assessment of his cognitive state.