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Margaret Lock: The Alzheimer Enigma Amidst Global Ageing

Epicenter Light House Lectures: Explorations between anthropology and biology

2014.09.23 | Mathias Nielsen

Date Tue 30 Sep
Time 14:15 16:00
Location Eduard Biermann Auditoriet, room 204, building 1252, the Lakeside lecture theatres, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé, 8000 Aarhus C

The alzheimer enigma amidst global ageing

Alzheimer’s disease is described today as an epidemic, with estimates of 115 million cases worldwide by 2050. Less visible are the ongoing onto/epistemological arguments current in the scientific world in connection with entanglements of AD type dementia with “normal” aging, and repeated efforts to delineate what exactly constitutes this elusive yet devastating condition. In early 2011 official statements appeared in medical journals about a so-called paradigm shift involving a move towards a molecular-level preventative approach to AD, in which the detection of biomarkers indicative of prodromal Alzheimer’s disease is central. In this talk I will discuss the significance of risk predictions associated with such biomarkers, and the irresolvable uncertainties such information raises for involved individuals and families. I will conclude by arguing that a systematized public health approach to the Alzheimer phenomenon is urgently needed, in addition to ongoing efforts to better understand the problem at the molecular level.

Margaret Lock PhD is Marjorie Bronfman Professor in Social Studies of Medicine, Emerita, Dept. of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University. Her groundbreaking work in medical anthropology is recognized around the globe, and her books include “Encounters with Aging: Mythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America” (1993), “Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death” (2002), “The Alzheimer Conundrum: Entanglements of Dementia and Aging” (2013), and, with Vinh-Kim Nguyen, “An Anthropology of Biomedicine” (2010)

EPICENTER – Centre for Cultural Epidemics

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