Memory loss: When to worry


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I finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova the day before Julianne Moore won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as a 50 year old Harvard professor faced with early-onset Alzheimer's in the movie adaptation. It took me only a day and a half, with many interruptions, to pour through it cover to cover. I couldn't put it down, and I loved it, in that way you can love something which makes you cringe.

Occasionally, I associate too much with a character in a novel, becoming empathetic to the point of near paralysis. I walked around in an amnesiac fog for 36 hours, but I'm better now. I think.

I do forget things frequently. I'm terrible with names. I lose my phone several times a day, every day. I briefly forget which kids are where, and who has to be picked up when. I can't remember if I've been to a certain restaurant or if I like a certain wine. I blame these memory lapses on the business of life, a mom's tendency to devote at least part of her brain to each of her children, and poor organization. (I do not blame it on the wine.)

When, though, do normal memory lapses and loss due to aging become a diagnosable disease?

Check out the slideshow above for some of the biggest warning signs.

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