Iconic Newsman Mike Wallace Gone

“Tough but Fair”

This is the epitaph veteran report Mike Wallace hoped would be used to describe himself when he died.

The iconic 60 Minutes reporter died this weekend at the age of 93. He had been living at a care facility in New Canaan, Connecticut for the past few years, suffering from heart disease and dementia.

Wallace’s career spanned over 60 years, and hundreds of interviews included everyone from heads of state to scam artists . His signature “in your face” style made most he interviewed visibly nervous.

Click here to see five of this most famous interviews.

Ten Things You Should Know About Dementia

1.  Dementia is not a specific disease. Rather, it is a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that affect the brain.

2. People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships.

3. People with dementia lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control.

4. There can also be personality changes and behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, and hallucinations.

5. While memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia. Doctors diagnose dementia only if two or more brain functions are significantly impaired.

These functions include language, memory, perception, emotional behavior or personality and cognitive skills  (such as calculation, abstract thinking, or judgment).

6. Some of the diseases that can cause symptoms of dementia include:

7. Doctors have identified other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms.  These include reactions to medications, metabolic problems and endocrine abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, infections, poisoning, brain tumors, anoxia or hypoxia (conditions in which the brain’s oxygen supply is either reduced or cut off entirely), and heart and lung problems.

8. Although it is common in very elderly individuals, dementia is not a normal part of the aging process.

9. Drugs to specifically treat Alzheimer’s disease and some other progressive dementias are now available.  Although these drugs do not halt the disease or reverse existing brain damage, they can improve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. This may improve an individual’s quality of life, ease the burden on caregivers, or delay admission to a nursing home.

10. Many people with dementia, particularly those in the early stages, may benefit from practicing tasks designed to improve performance in specific aspects of cognitive functioning. For example, people can sometimes be taught to use memory aids, such as mnemonics, computerized recall devices, or note taking.

For more information, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on Dementia.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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