HSC experts explain Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Tyson GarfieldCaregivers, grappling with medical questions about Alzheimer’s disease, may be filled with fear and confusion.

Often, they turn to friends, social media or the internet for answers. Geriatric experts at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth want to bridge that information gap.

Dr. Tyson Garfield, Geriatrician and Assistant Professor, tackles those questions at HSC Health’s Geriatric Clinic and in his blog, “themedicinecheck.”

It helps to understand the terms.

“Dementia is a broad term that is defined as a loss of thinking skills and memory that decreases a person’s ability to do things they are normally able to do,” Dr. Garfield explained. “It is caused by damage to brain cells that makes it difficult for the brain cells to talk with each other which ultimately leads to the loss of a person’s ability to complete day-to-day tasks.”

Dr. Garfield said Alzheimer’s disease is often thought to be the same thing as dementia, but it is actually the most common type of dementia.

“In fact, Alzheimer’s disease causes up to 80% of cases!” he said.

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and fatal, Dr. Garfield said, adding: “There is no known cure at this time, but there are some treatments aimed at slowing it down.”

Early detection can help minimize the effects and improve quality of life as it progresses, he said.

First-of-its-kind research is underway at the HSC to develop new treatments to help detect it early and stop its progression before it’s too late.

But detecting Alzheimer’s disease early is challenging, because often, a person is unable to recognize the symptoms of dementia in themselves, Dr. Garfield said.

Families and caregivers should become familiar with some early warning signs, especially those noted by the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Memory loss
  • Trouble solving problems
  • Struggle to complete familiar tasks
  • Losing track of time and confusion about places
  • Vision or balance problems
  • Problems following a conversation
  • Losing items, trouble retracing one’s steps
  • A change in judgement or decision-making
  • Withdrawing from social circles, activities
  • Personality changes

Recent News

Ram flyer
  • Community
|Nov 23, 2022

Free pop-up medical, vision and dental clinic is just a week away

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and Remote Area Medical – RAM® — a nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics that delivers free quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need — are bringing the free health care clinic to Dallas on Dec. 3 and 4. After th...
Mathis, Borjas, Luna Smith Hsc Teaching Chair
  • Community
|Nov 18, 2022

HSC partners with Fort Worth ISD to honor outstanding science teacher 

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is committed to supporting science and health education for students at all levels of their academic journeys.  Since last year, HSC has sponsored Fort Worth Independent School District’s Chair for Teaching Excellence in Seconda...
Dr. Sid O'Bryant
  • Research
|Nov 14, 2022

Key study results from HSC’s Institute for Translational Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Findings from a recent study by the team at the Institute for Translational Research led by Dr. Sid O’Bryant at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth have been published by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The article, “Characterization of Mild Cognitive Impairme...
John Mulstad
  • Our People
|Nov 11, 2022

Recognizing veterans in HSC’s School of Health Professions

Today, and every day, we are proud to recognize the faculty, staff and students of the School of Health Professions who have answered the selfless call to serve as health care providers and in their country's military. We commend and celebrate the patriotism, sacrifices and selfless service of al...